Samoa’s U20’s team is gearing up for an important test window.
The team has two major events in the works: the Oceania U20 Championship and Junior World Cup 2017.
Preparations have been well underway as head coach and staff scoured several countries looking for the best Samoan rugby players to don the blue jersey.
Yesterday, the Samoa Rugby Union hosted the final U20 Trials at the A.C.P Marist Stadium in Lotopa.
This was the first time finalist from Samoa, New Zealand and Australia faced off in a round robin playing style vying for a spot on the proposed final 38 Man roster.
The Head Coach of Samoa’s U20’s, Fa’aofonu’u Junior Leota, intensively looked on as the trials commenced and was flanked by some of Samoa’s most experienced coaches such as Stephen Betham and Fuimaono Dickie Tafua.
Faaofonuu told the Samoa Observer, “This I the first time its happened to get all of New Zealand, Australia and Samoa here in Samoa for the trials.”
“I think in the planning ,we’re trying to get the best 15 from each country to come over to Samoa and compete wit these local boys. The reason was to get that extra competitive edge when selecting the boys.”
Once the team has been announced, the players will stay on island to train together to prepare for the upcoming Oceania U20 Championship from 28 April- 6th of May
Samoa will join top rugby countries such as New Zealand and Australia.
Faaofonuu shared that preparing early and fielding a team from different countries will be a plus for Samoa.
“For me its all about preparation.
We want to get the best possible preparation for the Junior World Cup. Obviously, we want to go in there and win everything and try different combinations just to find out the balance in our team.”
“For us to get all the overseas here and train together is a plus.
We get to train together, Not like before where we had on two weeks preparations and then we fly out. But we have a decent 8 weeks before we make way to Oceania and the Junior World Cup.”
1. Leauma Uelese Leauma - Auckland
2. Petalo Etemani Ikenasio - Auckland
3. Suetena Asomua - Auckland
4. Setu Enoka - Samoa
5. Frank Tupuola - Samoa
6. Noel Sanft - Samoa
7. Nathan Sasagi Taaga - Melbourne, Australia
8. Ivan Fepuleai - Wellington
9. Jarimar Schuster - Wellington
10. Julius Togafau - Wellington
11. Peato Toeafe - Samoa
12. Theodore Filipo - Auckland
13. Benjamin Sau - Auckland
14. Caleb Faalili - Auckland
15. Taina Fox Matamua - Auckland
16. Wyatt Setu - Brisbane, Australia
17. Nese Solia - Wellington
18. Francis Ah Him - Samoa
19. Paul Faalogo - Samoa
20. Shamma Solomona - Auckland
21. Gafatasi Fuimaono - Auckland
22. Lei Ioane - Wellington
23. Godinet Tinea - Auckland
24. Pupi Ah See - Samoa
25. Ethan Lolesio - Brisbane, Australia
26. Lagaali Schuster - Auckland
27. Dilon Loibl - Samoa
28. Tanielu Telea - Auckland
29. Tagaloa Fonoti - Samoa
30. Daren Kellet - Auckland
31. Aneriueta Fale Piopa - Wellington
32. Hunter Paisami ** - Melbourne
(**Melbourne Rebels Player not released for trials)
33. Losi Filipo - Wellington
34. Alesana Pohla - Brisbane
35. Ricky Luamanuvae - Samoa
36. Simon Peter Toleafoa - Auckland
37. Sunny Pettybourne.
Head Coach: Faaofonuu JP Leota
Assistant Coach: Setu Tuilaepa
Manager: Ulu Maluofinao Shinn Ete
Technical Advisor: Mahonri Schwalger
Technical Advisor: Auimatati Sapani
Trainer: Keegan Murphy
Physiotherapist: Joshua Melrose.