Manu Samoa prop, Census Johnston, will spearhead Tama Samoa’s charge for the A$1.6m (T$2.88m) at the Global 10s tournament in Brisbane next weekend.
The Toulouse-based Johnston is among coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia’s 23 strong squad announced yesterday.
To be captained by Falemiga Selesele, the selection is dominated by locally based players with Johnston by far the most experienced in the team.
“We are looking forward to playing against some of the top professional sides in the world,” Namulauulu said. “We have selected the best available players to represent Samoa.”
The squad features eight Manu Samoa players and two from the Manu Samoa Sevens.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to play in this exciting tournament,” Namulauulu said. “We are fully aware of the challenge playing against full time professional outfits but we can’t wait to perform and give it our best for our supporters at this exciting inaugural tournament.”
The squad features Patrick Fa’apale, Danny Tusitala and Oneone Fa’afou.
Also joining the team is the Manu Samoa Sevens captain, Tila Mealoi and try scoring machine, Samoa Toloa.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai is excited and hopeful for Tama Samoa.
“Its new to us,” he said of the tournament.
“The tournament is basically the first international event of the caliber that we’ve attended. We’ve been preparing since December and we’ve put a lot of effort into the conditioning of the players to participate in this event.”
He hopes the extensive training the team has undergone since December will show next weekend.
“We’re not going there to make up the numbers because the teams participating are all Super 18 franchises. We’re hoping to make a good account of ourselves and do us proud.”
Samoa is pooled with Auckland Blues, Canterbury Crusaders and Queensland Reds. The tournament is set for February 11-12.
PROPS: Tietie Tuimauga (SCOPA), Ausetalia Vaiomanu (Queensland Universtiy), Jarred Adams (Pukekohe), Bronson Foutalii (Sunnybank) and Census Johnson (Toulouse)
HOOKERS: Ripine Fualau (Moataa), Oneone Faafou (Vaiala)
LOOSE FORWARDS: Faalemiga Selesele (Moataa) – Captain, Mikaele Tapili (Marist), Jeff Lepa ( Waimea Old Boys), Greg Foe (Poneke), Liahona Vaegaau (Moataa)
HALFBACKS: Danny Tuistala (Ponsonby), Lucky Palamo (Harlequins)
FIRST FIVE: D’Angela Leuila (Ponsonby), Patrick Faapale
MIDFIELDERS: Opetara Peleseuma (Hutt Old Boys Marist), Faafou Amate (Moataa), Meki Magaele (Marist), Tila Mealoi (Tepatasi)
WINGERS: Johnny Samuelu (Vaiala), Faletoa Moli ( Marist), Samoa Toloa (Sa’asaai)
COACHES: Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, Mailo Potumoe Leavasa