Spain will host Manu Samoa for their first Rugby World Cup qualifying match on June 9.
This was confirmed by the Manu Samoa Head Coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, in an interview with Samoa Observer.
Manu Samoa will then host Spain in Apia Park on June 23 for their final qualifying match.
In the meantime, Fuimaono said the Manu Samoa players have been put on alert to be prepared.
“The plan we have so far is that the team will be able to come together around May, that’s when most international tournaments conclude and for us to start our preparations for our first qualifying match,” he said.
“As you all know, most players in our Manu Samoa squad are scattered around the globe playing for their different clubs, especially in Europe.”
“We have also contacted our players playing professional Rugby abroad to confirm their availability for the June Tests and our qualifying matches.”
“Another important aspect of contacting the players early is regarding their commitment towards the team and support when they are here to start preparations.”
“At the moment, we have all the players who played for Manu Samoa in previous counts and also some of the new players who have put up their hands for the blue jumper and to serve their country.”
Fuimaono mentioned there’s a tournament starting next week for Samoa A, Tonga A, Fiji A and Japan A in the Under-23 that he is using as a trial for some of the local players and few overseas based players coming in to try out for the Manu Samoa.
He says their preparations are on track.
He confirmed the Manu Samoa players playing for Super Rugby will not be available for the Manu Samoa.
“A few players coming from New Zealand and Australia are currently playing in the New Zealand I.T.M. Cup and Provincial level in Australia.”
“Our players playing in the Super Rugby championships will not be available to play during the Qualifying matches in June.”
Fuimaono also confirmed that Manu Samoa will be playing the French Barbarians team on May 31 before their first qualifying match in Spain.
“So that is what we are looking forward to for now.”
“The team we are looking at for the qualifying matches are set to be picked from the best available players who can take us to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.”