Samoans spurring on Blues in Super Rugby
Round seven of Super Rugby saw plenty of Manu Samoa-eligible players again feature in the highest level of club rugby in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Blues got their third win in a row on Saturday night, 24-9 over the visiting Stormers.
Winger Tanielu Tele’a scored a brilliant opening try for the Blues, fending off three players while on a 50 metre run down the sideline.
The 20-year-old, who represented Samoa at the 2017 World Rugby U20s Championship, also received a red card with 10 minutes left in the game for not making sure his opponent landed safely at a high-ball contest.
"I saw the high box kick," Tele'a told the New Zealand Herald after the game.
"I had my eyes on the ball the whole time, it was an unintentional collision, I apologised straight away. I guess that's just rugby, sometimes things just happen by accident, I hope he's all good."
Fullback Melani Nanai and centre TJ Faiane were once again stellar for the Auckland side, with their excellent form keeping All Blacks Matt Duffie and Sonny Bill Williams out of the starting XV.
Gerard Cowley-Tuioti had another strong performance at lock. Manu Samoa lock Kane Le’aupepe made his Super Rugby debut off the bench for the Hurricanes in their 8-32 loss to the Crusaders on Friday night.
Poor execution let the Wellington side down in the battle between the top two New Zealand sides in the competition, as former Samoa U20 player Chase Tiatia got his fifth start in a row at fullback.
For the Crusaders, uncapped All Black and former Samoa U20 player Jordan Taufua, who is taking up a contract with Leicester in England after the Rugby World Cup, shifted to the bench to accommodate the return of All Black captain Kieran Read.
He set up the final Crusaders try with a nice draw-and-pass for Braydon Ennor out wide.
Michael Alaalatoa has been a constant presence at prop for the Crusaders; the 27-year old son of former Manu prop Vili Alaalatoa is eligible to play internationally for Australia, New Zealand or Samoa.
Samoa age-grade representative centre Tumua Manu continued his good season at centre, scoring a try for the Chiefs in their 30-27 win over the Jaguares in Argentina.
Solomon Alaimalo also started on the wing for the Waikato side, who are turning their season around after two straight wins.
Number eight Taleni Seu came off the bench to set up the game-winning try for All Black halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.