Manu Samoa’s new skipper is not so new. He will perhaps be the smallest man on the paddock on Saturday when the Manu take on Georgia at Apia Park.
David Lemi, a veteran of the Manu Samoa, has captained the team before. This time around, he will be assisted by Fa’atiga Lemalu as Vice Captain.
“It is always an honour and a privilege to captain the Manu,” Lemi told the Samoa Observer.
“I may have missed out on the World Cup but I believe that the Lord has a big plan for me and so to be back in the Samoan team is simply amazing.
“When coach Alama came to the U.K. and we had a chat about me coming back to the Manu, I didn’t answer him immediately because I had to concentrate on the season I was currently in. But as soon as my season finished I rushed back here to join up with the boys.
“I came here expecting to just be part of the team but when Alama told me last night to lead the team I felt so honoured.”
According to Lemi, the team is doing really well in terms of preparations towards this weekend’s test match.
“The boys are gelling really well,” he said. “But I think that goes along with the Samoan culture, we are just old players coming back to help out our younger brothers.
“It’s an exciting feeling for me and as an old brother in the team looking at how hungry our younger boys are for opportunity.
“It’s a pleasing sight to see them push hard for the squad.”
Lemi is also really impressed with how hard the locally based boys are working. “Our locally based players are really hard workers,” he said. “Last week I overheard some people say that they work harder than what the coaches expect from them.
“I have only been back for five days and all I can say is that it’s good to see how hard our boys are working; it’s good to come back to a strong Manu environment. “I always tell the new guys to just be themselves, there’s no need to try and be someone else.
“The reason the coaches chose them is because they were themselves, so they should keep being true to their personal drive; I also tell them to just be humble; Samoa is a humble nation.”
Lemi also expressed joy to see such competition for team spots, according to him, this healthy competition will help strengthen the team.
“The boys are really competing hard for that spot in this coming test match,” he said.
“To be honest, just because I have been selected as a captain it doesn’t guarantee my position, so we are working hard day by day and making sure we get our technique right for the weekend.” But all in all, David is just happy to be home and to feel that warm support from his people.
“I would like to thank Samoa for their continuing support,” he said.
“Especially the parents of these boys, they raised them well; all the support they have shown is evident on the field.
“I also want to say thank you to all those who have prayed for us, we really need it going in to the weekend.
“We will definitely give it our all against Georgia. “It’s a very long flight from the U.K. but it’s all worth it in the end, it’s so good to be back.”