Friday, June 12, 2009

Rugby Test: Pacific Nations About to Begin

Junior All Blacks v Samoa in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)

This match Samoa does not classify as a 'test' match. Which is a strange situation considering the strength of the Junior All Black side.

Samoa's problems are usually centred around how many of their overseas-based players are able, willing or fit enough to return home for this series. Traditionally the Samoan, Fijian and Tongan sides for this tournament are not as strong as say their World Cup squads. Having said that a good number of overseas players are in the squad. "The forward core is made up of overseas-based players with veteran Fosi Palaamo making a great comeback with Mahonri Schwalger and Census Johnston making up the front row. The backs see the return of Henry Faafili and Gavin Williams alongside European Player of the Year, Seilala Mapusua" as per

Previous Encounters
27.05.2007 Junior AB 31-10 in Apia (Pacific Nations Cup)
09.06.2006 Junior AB 56-12 in Albany (Pacific Five Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings: Do not apply

Prediction: Junior All Blacks by 20 points

Junior All Blacks coaches Ian Foster and Colin Cooper have named their side to play Samoa in their opening Pacific Nations Cup match in Apia on Friday at 4.00pm (local time/ Saturday 3.00pm New Zealand time).

The team
Israel Dagg, Rene Ranger, Anthony Tuitavake, Tamati Ellison (captain), Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Chris Smylie, Victor Vito, George Whitelock, Jason Eaton, Tom Donnelly, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Aled De Malmanche, Jacob Ellison

Reserves: Hikawera Elliot, John Schwalger, Craig Clarke, Alando Soakai, Stephen Brett, Ryan Crotty. The last reserve is yet to be confirmed.

Manu Samoa Squad
Andrew Williams
Mahonri Schwalger
Fosi Palaamo
Census Johnston
Ernest Skelton
Justin Va’a
Filipo Levi
Joe Tekori
Jonathan Faamatuainu
Daniel Leo
Ofisa Treviranus
Misioka Timoteo
William Brame
Semo Sititi
George Stowers (Capt)
Junior Poluleuligaga
Notise Tauafao
Angelo Lani Malifa
Ki Anufe
Eliota Sapolu
Seilala Mapusua
Gavin Williams (V/Capt)
Henry Faafili
Alesana Tuilagi
Esera Lauina
Reupena Levasa
Lolo Lui
Uale Mai
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua

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