Manu Samoa


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Manu Samoa training squad announced

Fasavalu Europa Rose Tuesday 18 March 2008

“If overseas players want to be part of the Manu Samoa squad, they will have to trial like everyone else,” he said. “And we will use the PRC match between the Upolu Samoa and the Savai’i Samoa as trial for the Manu Samoa; this will be the perfect opportunity for overseas players to trial.”

Manu Samoa Coach Tuala Niko Palamo and his management team have selected 36 local names in the training squad ahead of the Pacific Cup rugby tournament in June.

The selection of the training squad says Tuala came after the PRC (Pacific Rugby Cup) trials two weeks ago.

“These are the local players selected from the PRC trials that were held in Savai’i and Upolu,” he said.

“With this training squad we will be observing their performance in order to select our Manu Samoa team.”

Seven players from the Samoa sevens team have been included in the training squad.

“The sevens players are currently preparing for the IRB seven tournament, so that leaves us with 29 players to work with, so we will paying close attention to these players and how they perform in training,” Tuala said.

Tuala said there is no guarantee that all players will make the Manu Samoa squad.

“These players have not yet made the cut to make it into the Manu Samoa, but they can if they are committed during training,” he stressed.

Another matter discussed in the Manu Samoa press conference yesterday at the HPU unit in Alafua, were the chances of overseas based players to play for the Manu Samoa.
“If overseas players want to be part of the Manu Samoa squad, they will have to trial like everyone else,” he said.

“And we will use the PRC match between the Upolu Samoa and the Savai’i Samoa as trial for the Manu Samoa; this will be the perfect opportunity for overseas players to trial.”

“Unlike in previous years where the majority of overseas players show up a week before the Manu Samoa game, now we don’t want that because our team cannot wait for them,” Tuala said.

“So we have notified them through a letter that they should be here for the trial.”

“It will also be an opportunity for those local players that have not made the training squad, but are still in training to trial-out,” he added.

Tuala added that past achievement will not be an agenda in the selection of this year’s national team.

“There is no confirmed position; at the moment every position is on trial. If a player performed well in last year’s tournament he will not be picked on that performance,” he said.

These are the local players that have caught the attention of the Manu Samoa selectors and are scheduled to meet 3:30pm today at the HPU:
HOOKER: Lafoga Aoelua (Lepea), Taleni Toloa (SCOPA), Loleni Tafunai (Vaiala),

PROPS: Muliufi Salanoa (SCOPA), Hiroshima Tea (Vaimoso), Taliaferro Fa’alogo (Apia), Paula Lewer (Afega), Taligatuli Moala (Vaivase),

LOCKS: Ken Ulia (Afega), Tui Fitiao (Siumu), Luti Pese (Safotu),

LOSSIES: Solomona Aimaasu (Maagiagi), Nissan Aitui (SCOPA), Asiasiga Toalepaiali’i (Satapuala), Ponifasio Vasa (Marist), Maugaloto Palu (Lepea), Alafoti Faosiliva (Afega), Simaika Mikaele (Vailele), Sirovai Sila (Maagiagi),

HALF-BACKS: Uale Mai (Marist), Dominic Gabriel (Lepea), Notise Tauafao (Malie),

FLY-HALF: Roger Warren (Marist), Ki Anufe (Lepea), Lolo Lui (Moata’a)

CENTRES: Samasoni Moala (Vaivase), Reupena Levasa (Vailele), Torise Teni (Salelologa), Chris Lei Sam (Chanel),

WINGS: Aifou Fa’amausili (Malie), Joiner Key (Leulumoega), Matthew Iakopo (SCOPA),

FULL-BACKS: Mikaele Pesamino (Vailele), Fanuafou Tofi (SCOPA), Alatasi Tupou (Vaiala).

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

New Manu Samoa Siva Tau

New Manu Samoa Coach

Upolu and Savaii ready for Pacific Rugby Cup

Pacific Rugby Cup teams, Savai’i Samoa and Upolu Samoa, share three things in common now.

One, is that both teams represent Samoa. Two, is that both teams have won the Pacific Ruby Cup. And three, both teams lack a disadvantage in either the backs or the forwards.

The interesting clash will be when the two tackle each other in the tournament.

Not only is it going to be a game to watch, it’s going to be gigantic clash between Samoa’s top local forwards and Samoa’s top local backs.

Now what is the winning factor in ruby, strong forwards or dangerous backs. You are set to find out when Savai’i Samoa and Upolu Samoa collide at Apia Park next month.

And it’s going to be a thriller.

Savai’i Samoa, the 2006 PRC champions, and first team to win the tournament, is made up of a team dominated with Samoa’s top local core forwards.

There’s strength, power, leadership and speed in the forwards.

And those players that provide such attributes are Loleni Tafunai, Hero Tea, Rudy Leavasa, Egelani Fale, Luti Pese, Lale Latu, Keneti Tofilau, Iosefa Taina, Ulia Ulia and Alafoti Faosiliva.

The team has a number of star-studded forwards.

As for captaincy, it could fall into Ulia’s hands, a Manu Samoa powerhouse who has also captained the Manu Samoa.

He has the leadership, the skill, the running ability and strength.

Together with Faosiliva, the two will no doubt prove a formidable force to put away.

Faosilva has become the rising Sevens sensation and is also a former Manu Samoa player.

And at the age of 21, his rugby career is starting to take flight.

Savai’i Samoa’s backs are not as impressive as the forwards.

There are a few well known names. such as Alatasi Tupou, Gafa Siona, Ki Anufe, Reupena Levasa and Mark Tanuvasa.

The backs will surely struggle against Upolu Samoa’s backs, but in saying that, Upolu Samoa’s forwards look no match for Savai’i’s.

Upolu Samoa, unlike Savai’i, is dominated by experienced backs.

The speed is there, the flair, the vision as well as playmaking ability.

The backs include a number of stars, including Samoa Sevens stars.

To start it off, Sevens Captain Uale Mai is in the team, so is Notise Tauafao, Roger Warren, Lolo Lui, Gasolo Salima, Timoteo Iosua and speedster Mikaele Pesamino.

It will be interesting to see how Upolu uses Uale Mai.

With two first-fives, Lui and Warren, will Uale Mai be utilised at half-back.

He definitely has the skills, height and vision for the position.

Lui and Warren will duke it out for first-five, or else one of the two will cover fullback.

One thing for sure is, if there is space, count on Pesamino and Iosua to be causing havoc.

Both players have become top-try scorer in the IRB Sevens Circuit. Iosua did it in the 2005-2006 season and Pesamino did it last season.

And not only are the two packing heat, both can cover fullback and kick at goals.

And elusive backs team Upolu has, but the forwards will need to play their part in providing possession.

In the forwards, the biggest names are Donald Kerslake, Muliufi Salanoa, Alapasa Cordtz and Sirovai Sila.

A question mark hangs over Kerslake who is still recovering from a rib injury and Cordtz has been dropped from the Samoa Sevens based on inconsistent form.

What can Upolu Samoa muster up in the forwards.

Nevertheless, no team can be underestimated, especially in the Pacific Rugby Cup.

One interesting point with both teams, is that both are coached by the Manu Samoa assistant coaches.

Paepae Stan Toomalatai, forwards coach, will guide Savai’i Samoa, and Fepuleai Selefuti Patu, backs coach, will guide Upolu.

Will Paepae’s powerhouse forwards prevail over Fepuleai’s elusive backs? We’ll have to wait and see.

Savai’i Team List

Lafoga Aoelua, Loleni Tafunai, Viliamu Viliamu, Hore Tea, Poutoa Iosi, See Lepa, Steve Faatau, Tua Ale, Rudy Leavasa, Egelani Fale, Luti Pese, Lale Latu, Wally Esau, Keneti Tofilau, Joe Taina, Ulia Ulia, Robert Ah Kuoi, Avaelalo Tito, Solomona Aimaasu, Maugaloto Palu, Ponifasio Vasa, Alafoti Faosiliva, Tele Ese, Fisoa Faaiu.

Alatasi Tupou, Ese Fale, Gafa Siona, Ki Anufe, Afa Lesa, Mark Tanuvasa, Silaumua Potifele, Fale Afamasaga, Reupena Lavasa, Junior Leota, Chris Lei Sam, Aifou Faamausili, Tom Iosefa, Anekosi Faamoe, Fanuafou Tofi, Sitiveni Leleimalefaga

Upolu Team List

Taligatuli Moala, Paula Lewis, Solomona Tavita, Donald Kerslake, Ferro Faalogo, Esau Hunt, Evile Falefatu, Mulifusi Ulima, Muliufi Salanoa , Andrew Williams, Taleni Toloa, Tui Fitiao, Ola Pipili, Lavatai Toolo, Ken Ulia, Ruperake Petaia, Sikuka Uimaitua, Alapasa Cortz, Musolini Magele, Nissan Faatui, Leilua Fiu, Asiasiga Toalepaialii, Toalima Failaga, Sirovai Sila

Uale Mai, Notise Tauafao, Mike Gabriel, Roger Warren, Lolo Lui, Samasoni Moala, Gasolo Salima, Tulise Teni, Timoteo Iosua, Tuugasala Sione, Pulemalie Sopo, Joiner Key, Uaealesi Faatauvaa, Mathew Iakopo, Mikaele Pesamino, Taulgai Afamasaga, Suauu Puauli.

No mercy for 7s players

Samoa Sevens’ squad for Hong Kong, were pushed to the limit yesterday during training at Maninoa Beach, Siumu.

Galumalemana Rudolph Moors spared no one, or gave any player any special treatment.

It was an hour and a half training session where boys were turned into men, and men were turned into warriors.

And with Galumalemana calling the shots, the team were left half-dead with aching muscles and gasping for breathe, as their strength and endurance was put to the ultimate test ahead of the Hong Kong Sevens at the end of the month.

And the hot sun and sand didn’t help either.

Galumalemana made it clear earlier in the week that he planned to push the players to the limit. He wasn’t lying.

The players underwent intense strength training, starting off with players carrying two 20kg sand bags above their heads, jogging a 100m set course for no more than seven minutes.

The players managed to survive that, well just, really.

A two minute break was then given, for the payers to down water and stretch back up again.

And then the big sand bags came out. The players had to jog half the course carrying a 30 to 40kg sand bag above their heads, and then jogging the rest, for another seven minutes.

The players began to fatigue, especially Uale Mai, Simaika Mika, Mikaele Pesamino, Alapasa Cordtz and Lolo Lui.

The look on their faces looked as if they were crying for help.

Alatasi Tupou sarcastically made his thoughts known to Galumalemana, as every time he crossed his path carrying a sand bag, he would moan, “I love you coach.”

Galumalemana would just smile, as the worst was still to come.

With only 20 minutes into training, the players looked dead. But Galumalemana pushed them further.

He repeated the first session watching as players began to drop like flies.

Their original pace was gone. All that was left was pure determination to continue on.

They did just that, especially with Manu Samoa legend Brian Lima joining the training sessions.

Other sessions saw the players carrying sand bags to set markers, back and forth to test stamina, dragging 40kg sand bags, as well as jerking logs.

Mika struggled to cope as he continued to throw himself into the water to catch his breath.

Tourists walked by saying to Galumalemana, “So now I know how you guys beat England. They don’t do anything like this back home.”

Galumalemana returned the compliment with a small grin. And then his mind was quickly switched back to training. He meant business.

The players began to beg for mercy, Galumalemana shouted, “No mercy”.

When the Observer Sports finally had a chance to speak with Galumalemana, he said the training has served its purpose.

“What the training what about, what testing how far the players would go.

“It’s like see how far they would go to win. In this training, they endured pain, tiredness, aching, saw hands and saw bodies.

“Now in a real game, these players need to be used to this, it will make a big difference.

“So what we did was set up a training that would test their strength and stamina.

“I am impressed with the players. They did very well.

“I feel the team is ready for Hong Kong now,” Galumalemana said.

“I would also like to thank the Samoa Rugby Union for allowing us to train here at Maninoa. It is great for training.”

The team heads for Hong Kong next weekend.

Samoa Hong Kong Squad announced

Can we repeat this moment?

The Hong Kong defending champions Samoa has announced it squad for the 2008 tournament.

Samoa Sevens Hong Kong squad

Simaika Mika
Alafoti Faosiliva
Alapasa Cordtz
Fetu Sasalu
Ponifasio Vasa
Uale Mai
Lolo Lui
Alatasi Tupou
Reupena Levasa
Mikaele Pesamino
Kolise Teni
Tom Iosefa

Non-travelling reserves
Solomona Selipa
Mathew Iakopo
Afa Aiono
Nisan Aitui

Good Luck Boys

IRB Pacific Nations Cup schedule announced

The IRB Pacific Nations Cup returns in June with the inclusion of a new team and heightened interest generated by the impressive performance of the Pacific Island Unions and Japan at Rugby World Cup 2007. The New Zealand Maori will join Australia A, Fiji, Japan, Samoa and Tonga in the Tournament which features fifteen matches played in six countries over five weeks.

“The 2007 IRB Pacific Nations Cup, won by the Junior All Blacks, was the most competitive to date, generating high-quality Rugby and providing an expanded Test schedule for the Pacific Island Unions. It also captured the imagination of the Rugby community, with well-attended matches and strong broadcast coverage,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

“The IRB Pacific Nations Cup has grown in two years to become a key event on the global Rugby calendar and plays a significant development role for each of the participating Unions, as highlighted by the number of players who graduated through the Tournament to represent their country at the Rugby World Cup.

“Rugby World Cup 2007 was the most competitive RWC to date and the performances of Fiji, Japan, Samoa and Tonga significantly revealed that our investment in new Tournament structures, high performance and Union infrastructure programmes are already reaping rewards,“ said Lapasset.

The importance of the Tournament has been highlighted by Fiji head coach Ilie Tabua, who last year guided his team to the quarter-finals of a Rugby World Cup for the first time since the inaugural event in 1987.

“The Pacific Nations Cup provides a valuable platform for us to test our local players. As two-thirds of Fiji’s Rugby World Cup 2007 squad were based overseas, we began the 2007 Pacific Nations Cup with heavy reliance on the locally-based amateurs. This allowed us to see which were capable of stepping up a notch to reach Test Rugby, and some went on to excel themselves at the Rugby World Cup,” Tabua said.

“We need to set challenges for these young players and prime them for national duty. Come Rugby World Cup 2011, I expect a large percentage of the squad will have gone through the Pacific Nations Cup, which has given us an important schedule of regular Test matches.”

The 2008 Tournament will be the first to feature the famous New Zealand Maori, who replace two-time champions the Junior All Blacks as New Zealand’s representatives in the IRB Pacific Nations Cup. The move comes as a result of a thorough strategic review by the NZRU.

“The New Zealand Maori team has been tremendously successful in recent years, winning the Barclays Churchill Cup twice in the past three years and has an excellent reputation of developing young talent for the Test arena. The inclusion of New Zealand Maori will enhance the IRB Pacific Nations Cup’s highly competitive format as well as the unique cultural element of the tournament. I am sure that the 2008 Tournament will be the most competitive to date,” said Lapasset.

The Tournament kicks off with three mouth-watering fixtures as Fiji host Samoa in Lautoka and New Zealand Maori make their IRB Pacific Nations Cup debut against Tonga in Albany on Saturday, June 7. The following day 2007 runners-up Australia A are hosted by Japan in Fukuoka.

Other highlights will include the Rugby World Cup replays between Tonga and Samoa and Japan against Fiji. Samoa will be out to exact revenge after the Tongans defeated their close rivals for the first time in seven years during a memorable match in Montpellier. Likewise, the Japanese will be out to reverse the result of their thrilling encounter in Toulouse where they were defeated 35-31 by eventual quarter-finalists Fiji.

New Manu Samoa Coach

On behalf of the SRU Board, I am pleased to announce the appointment of the first full time Head Coach of the Manu Samoa rugby team today. We believe that the appointment that we have concluded today is the best and most relevant to the goals that we have set for the development of the Manu Samoa.

The Union has undertaken the process to identify a new Head Coach for the Manu Samoa after the resignation of Laauli Michael Jones at the 2007 Rugby World Cup. The Union has endeavoured to ensure the process to appoint a new coach has been transparent, objective and thorough and performed in an open competitive nature.

During this process it was identified that the depth of the applicants was stronger than at any time I the past and is a response to the fact that coaches have been actively seeking to improve their coaching skills and qualifications.

The Union has taken into account the lessons learnt from the 2007 RWC. The full time appointment is based in Samoa and will be subject to annual review and a 2 + 2 year contract.

In making the appointment it is recognised that the professional age has changed the mentality of players and has made dealing with them a much more challenging process. It has also extended the role of the Head Coach so that his management skills are now very important.

The position was extensively advertised. The processes adopted was best practice in recruitment of coaches by other major Rugby Unions in that they were complete, objective and transparent. The consisted of 3 stages:

• Culling of applicants to arrive at a shortlist for interviews
• Interview process (with a technical panel strengthen by independent rugby administrators).
• Final consideration of personal qualities important to the position.

The final decision was not easy because of the closeness of the candidates. Only one could be appointed but we hope that the pool of competent candidates will be utilized in the development of Samoa Rugby.

The successful candidate is Tuala Lepale Niko Palamo and the qualities that enabled him to be the first choice included:
• He had demonstrated the record of leadership and management in and outside rugby. This is a correlation of his role as CEO and Secretary General at SASNOC including his strong involvement in the South Pacific Games.
• Coached the u19s team that won the U19s RWC B Pool and was promoted to the A pool. Niko time the team performance to top results.
• He achieved success as Head Coach of the Samoa National 7s team.
• His coaching of the U19’s elite team gives him a very good position in the identification of up and coming talent to the Manu Samoa.

The Union has been able to make this appointment on the progress made by the most recent management team, and in this regard we would like to take this opportunity to thank Laauli Michael Jones and his management team for the hard work and commitment that they have demonstrated over the past 4 years.

On behalf of the Samoa Rugby Union, I congratulate and wish Tuala Lepale Niko Palamo the best wishes as Manu Samoa Head Coach. The Union will now work very closed with Tuala Lepale Niko Palamo to finalise the rest of the Manu Samoa management team.

Hon. Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
SRU Chairman

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Lima on the verge of RWC history

Seventeen years ago a shy 18-year-old made his international debut for Samoa, winning the first of 63 caps in a career that has taken this wing cum centre around the world and seen him described as his country’s greatest player of all time.

He may now be 35 and in the twilight of his career, but there is one final benchmark for the popular Brian Lima to set before he hangs up the boots to spend time with his family – playing in his fifth Rugby World Cup with Samoa.

Lima is already a member of the select club to have played in four World Cups – one that includes England prop Jason Leonard and Canada fly half Gareth Rees – but will create history by running out against South Africa in Paris on 9 September.

“It means a lot to me and if I get picked for the World Cup it is very special for me because I don’t think anyone played five World Cups,” Lima, who has scored 31 tries – 10 of them in World Cups – in his 63 Tests for Samoa, told Total Rugby Radio.

“I think the only reason if I make the World Cup is because of the training, keeping fit and also not too many major injuries. I think something I have looked forward to every year is to recondition my body and the challenge to make my career even longer.”

Only five players – all of them World Cup winners – can better Lima’s 16 appearances on the sport's biggest stage in South Africa’s Joost van der Westhuizen (17), All Black forwards Richard Loe and Sean Fitzpatrick and England pair Martin Johnson and Jason Leonard.

An icon of Samoa rugby
Samoa did not play in the inaugural World Cup in 1987 when Loe and Fitzpatrick triumphed, but Lima remembers watching the tournament unfold from his home and seeing a player with Samoan heritage help New Zealand lift the Webb Ellis Cup in Auckland.

“It was very special that I was in Samoa watching that World Cup and watching the final with New Zealand against France and all Samoa I think supported New Zealand because one of the Samoan players played that game,” recalled Lima.

“He [Michael Jones] played really well and also he scored a try in the final against France and now he is the coach of our team. I was here [Samoa] in 1987, watching a World Cup in New Zealand.”

Lima may have watched Jones on that day 20 years ago, but the regard in which the former All Black flanker holds a player who has started every one of Samoa’s World Cup matches was evident during last month’s IRB Pacific Nations Cup.

“It’s been a real honour and a privilege to have Brian in the Manu Samoa team,” Jones said before Lima’s final Test on home soil against Tonga. “He has been a wonderful asset; he’s such a consummate professional – a real icon of Samoan rugby.”

Many others would echo Jones’ tribute to Lima, a humble and down to earth individual who has played club or provincial rugby in New Zealand, Japan, France and England, not to mention helped Samoa enjoy a World Cup debut to remember.

Rising to the challenge
On that famous day Western Samoa – as they were then known – stunned Wales 16-13 at Cardiff Arms Park to cause the first real World Cup upset, one that understandably ranks highly in Lima’s highpoints across his four tournaments.

“Well I think when Samoa first appeared, first qualified for 1991 and we beat Wales and we beat Argentina. We were very close to beating Australia and also we made the quarterfinals,” enthused Lima.

“And also in the last World Cup when we played England and were very close to beating England in 2003 [they lost 35-22 in Melbourne]. I think they are the most special moments in my career for playing World Cups.”

Ironically Samoa have again been drawn in the same pool as England and South Africa in 2007, a challenge that Lima – who has scored at least two tries in each of his four previous World Cups – and his teammates are ready to rise to in France.

“For Samoa we will just go out and play to the best of our ability and play with the Tier 1 teams in a World Cup. I think we try our best to compete with those big rugby teams in the world.”

What price another Samoan upset on the World Cup stage to send their beloved Lima – also known as ‘The Chiropractor’ for his trademark bone crunching tackles – into retirement with a third quarterfinal appearance to savour?

World Cup - Record fifth World Cup for Lima

Brian Lima is set to become the first player to compete in five World Cups after being named in Michael Joness Samoa squad for the 2007 tournament in France.

Jones (pictured) named his 30-man World Cup squad on Thursday with Bristol veteran Lima one of the players who will be contesting the wing and centre places.

Lima was the youngest player to compete in a World Cup when he played in the 1991 tournament in Europe.

He was 10 days shy of his 20th birthday when he was included in the Samoa team that famously downed Wales 16-13 in Cardiff in their group clash.

The 64-times capped Lima is the only player to have scored in four World Cups and will now have the chance to make it five.

"I have been waiting for the news to see if I will get selected into the World Cup squad," said Lima, nicknamed the Chiropractor due to the bone-crunching nature of his tackles.

"I'm happy to be the first player to record five World Cups. This is a great achievement not just for me, but for all of Samoa and for all young players dreaming of becoming a Manu Samoa player."

Samoa have been drawn in Pool A at the World Cup alongside champions England, South Africa, USA and Tonga, and Jones is confident they have a chance of making the quarter-finals despite the challenging draw.

To do so, they will need to finish first or second in their group which will likely require a victory over either England or South Africa.

"We have picked the squad on form and it's also a team we have been shaping for the last four years," Jones said.

"It's very important to pick players we believe can play our game plan. We have a big dream, and we have set our aspirations very high.

"The first step is to make the quarters. I believe we can get there, but we definitely want to take it another step and make the semis, and then to the finals, but it's a big dream.

"I believe we can make it."

Samoa open their World Cup account against the Springboks in Paris on September 9.

Samoa squad:

Forwards: Census Johnston (Saracens), Justin Va'a (Glasgow), Kasiano Lealamajua (Dax,), Donald Kerslake (Vaiala, Samoa), Mahonri Schwalger (Hurricanes), Muliufi Salanoa (Scopa), Silao Vaisolasefo (Alhambra, NZ), Filipo Levi (Ricoh, Japan), Kane Thompson (Wests, NZ), Iosefa Fekori (Auckland), Daniel Leo (Wasps), Henry Tuilagi (UK), Siu Lafaialii (Yokogawa, Japan), Semo Setiti (Docomo, Japan), Ulia Ulia (Marist, Samoa), Justin Purdie (Wellington).

Backs: Steven So'oialo (Harlequins), Junior Poluleuligaga (North Harbour), Loki Crichton (Worcester), Lolo Lui (Moataa, Samoa), Seilala Mapusua (London Irish), Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono (Bath), Jerry Meafou (Scopa, Samoa), Elvis Sevealii (Sale), Anitelea Tuilagi (Leeds Carnegie), Brian Lima (Bristol), David Lemi (Bristol), Lome Fa'atau (Glasgow), Alesana Tuilagi (Leicester), Gavin Williams (Ponsonby, NZ).Brian Lima is set to become the first player to compete in five World Cups after being named in Michael Joness Samoa squad for the 2007 tournament in France.