Playing for Manu Samoa has always been a dream for two of the new players in the team. For Paul Alo-Emile and Kieron Fonotia, the Manu Samoa jersey is all about passion and pride in oneself.
Although they were not born in Samoa, Paul and Kieron have always wanted to be a part of the Manu Samoa.
Paul who plays with the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby competition said representing Samoa is something he's passionate about.
“I guess being a Samoan is what we all have in common and there’s nothing stronger than that,” he said.
Asked about the preparations for Wales, Paul said things are coming along nicely.
“I don't think there is going to be a lot of changes on our team."
“We are a young group, and were trying not to put too much pressure on the boys.”
He said nothing beats than learning from the past.
“Obviously we can learn from the last game and the mistakes can be corrected to be better for the next game. Obviously there’s a lot to learn, given that we are a new team and one thing I'm proud of is that we have trust in each other and our coach as well."
He noted that it has been an awesome several days since arriving in Samoa.
“For me I was raised in Australia and right now I’m getting connected with my roots, and just learning about the family and trying to speak more Samoan."
“This is a huge deal for me, to learn about my Samoan culture as its something my parents have been wanting to instill in us."
“My parents are very proud of this culture but unfortunately, we live away from this unique culture.”
He admires how Samoans back up their team despite the disappointment of losing to the All Blacks.
“I can see how much love the people have in the team, the respect they have for the players. It motivates me to even want to play more."
“But I’ve always been passionate about playing for the Manu Samoa and I’ve always admired the Manu Samoa players.”
Paul is the son of Enelilko Fa’atauva’a Alo Emile and Pelu Lokeni Aife’e.
He’s from LeulumoegaTuai; Fasito'o-Tai and Falefa.
Kieron Fonotia played a starring role for Samoa last week in the loss to the All Blacks.
“There will be tweaking here and there leading into the game, but no major changes,” he said about preparations for Wales.
“The little changes is to adapt to the opposition but nothing major.”
From the village of Manono, Fonotia said he’s been wanting to learn more about where his grandfather comes from.
“I’ve always been keen to learn more about the Samoan way of life and so being selected into the Manu Samoa is something I’m extremely happy about.
“I’ve had to put this on hold for a while due to other obligations but timing is very important and no better way to come to Samoa than to be a part of the Manu Samoa team, a team that everyone loves.”
The Manu Samoa enjoyed a day off yesterday.
The starting team for Friday night’s derby is expected to be named today.