Manu Samoa touches down in Australia, gets traditional welcome
The Manu Samoa has arrived in Sydney, Australia, ahead of their test match against the Wallabies on Saturday.
The 31 players that will also travel to Japan for the Rugby World Cup were greeted at the airport on Sunday by Rugby Australia's Indigenous affiliate - the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team.
Head Coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson offered some insight on his selections for the Wallabies game and beyond:
“We’ve got a big pack and in the World Cup you’re going to need a big pack.
“It’s an old game. You’ve still got to win the set pieces. It’s all about delivering front foot ball.”
Vaeluagaomatagi said the forwards should be able to do just that for his exciting backline:
“We want to be able to play the game fast. And we now have the conditioning to do that.
“But the important thing for us is that we have some really good decision makers. Players who are willing to express themselves – to take an opportunity when they see one,” he said.
One of those players is first five Tusiata Pisi, who is heading to his third Rugby World Cup.
Pisi, 37, is the Manu’s highest ever points scorer with 238 from 37 tests, and he is set to move into the top-ten in caps during the tournament.
Eight other players in the squad have World Cup experience; Logovi’i Mulipola (2011), Motu Matu’u, Teofilo Paulo, Jack Lam, Tala James Ioane, Reynold Lee-Lo and Tim Nanai-Williams (2015).
In the management team, backs technical advisor Chris Latham went to three World Cups as a fullback for the Wallabies, while assistant coach Tuifaasisina Alistair Rogers was a performance analyst for the All Blacks in their successful 2011 and 2015 campaigns.
Manu Samoa squad and management for Rugby World Cup
Seilala LAM (30, Perpignan-France, Gataivai/Malie/Taga)
Motu MATU’U (32, London Irish-England, Fasitoo-uta/Falelatai/Manono)
Raymond NIUIA (28, Highlanders-New Zealand, Saipipi/Sa’anapu)
Michael ALA’ALATOA (28, Crusaders/Canterbury, Malifa/Fasitoo-tai/Matatufu)
Paul ALO-EMILE (27, Stade Francais-France, Falefa/Fasitoo-tai/Leulumoega)
James LAY (25, Bristol-England, Safotu)
Jordan LAY (26, Bristol-England, Safotu)
Logovi’i MULIPOLA (32, Newcastle-England, Manono/Vailoa Palauli)
Kane LE’AUPEPE (26, Hurricanes-New Zealand, Tanugamanono/Faleasiu)
Teofilo PAULO (31, London Irish-England, Solosolo/Safune/Matatufu/Faleapuna/Saleaumua)
Vaitoasa Senio TOLEAFOA (25, Nevers-France, Fasitoo-tai/Vaipuna/Leulumoega/Nofoalii)
Afaesetiti AMOSA (28, Bordeaux-France, Fasito’o-tai/Vailele)
Piula FA’ASALELE (31, Perpignan-France, Malie/Magiagi/Nofoali’i/Leulumoega/Talimatau)
Tala James IOANE (30, London Irish-England, Vaiee/Saleimoa/Lalovaea)
Jack LAM (31, Bristol-England, Gataivai/Malie/Taga)
Josh TYRELL (28, Oyonnax-France, Faleasiu/Nu’usuatia/Lufilufi/Salelologa)
Chris VUI (26, Bristol-England, Foailuga/Lano/Sa’asa’ai)
Scott MALOLUA (23, Queensland Reds-Australia, Fagali’i/Vailele)
Melani MATAVAO (23, Manu Samoa 7s-Samoa, Fasito’o-tai/Lauli’i/Saaga, Siumu)
Dwayne POLATAIVAO (29, Doncaster-England, Sasina/Safotu/Nofoali’i/Safata)
AJ ALATIMU (26, Western Force-Australia, Saleia Avao/Salailua/Afega)
Tusiata PISI (37, Toyota Industries Shuttles-Japan, Safaatoa Lefaga/Toamua)
Ulupano Junior SEUTENI (25, Bordeaux-France, Malie/Tiavea/Samusu)
Kieron FONOTIA (31, Scarlets-Wales, Manunu)
Reynold LEE-LO (33, Cardiff-Wales, Vailima/Magiagi/Vailoa/Palauli/Satoalepai)
Alapati LEIUA (30, Bristol-England, Malie, Patamea)
Henry TAEFU (26, Western Force-Australia, Samatau/Siufaga Falelatai)
Ed FIDOW (25, Worcester-England, Paia/Nofoali’i, Falelatai/Lalovaea)
Tim NANAI-WILLIAMS (30, Clermont-France, Manono/Falelatai)
Ahsee TUALA (30, Northampton-England, Leauva’a/Gataivai)
Belgium TUATAGALOA (29, Valence Romans-France, Samatau/Falelatai/Sapapali’i)
Vaeluagaomatagi Steve JACKSON: Head Coach - Fogapoa/Auckland, New Zealand
Vaaelua Aloi ALESANA: Team Manager - Lalomalava/Leufisa/Moata’a
Tuifaasisina Alistair ROGERS: Assistant Coach - Falelatai/Auckland, New Zealand
Chris LATHAM: Technical Advisor Backs - Narrabri/Brisbane, Australia
Ben Tuumoe AFEAKI: Technical Advisor Scrum - Falevao/Haapai, Tonga/Auckland, New Zealand
Adam STOREY: Strength and Conditioning Coach - Auckland, New Zealand
John RYAN: Strength and Conditioning Coach - Auckland, New Zealand
Hari Junior NARAYAN: Video Analyst - Poutasi Falealili/Vaivase-tai
Rauin MORIARTY: Video Analyst - Te Kuiti, New Zealand
Misa Faalavaau Tauti Dr. Navy COLLINS: Doctor - Vaoala/Falelatai/Apolima/Mulifanua/Faleasiu/Apia
Olivia WITHERS: Physiotherapist - London, England
Brett DAVISON: Physiotherapist - Cape Town, South Africa/London, England
Tuipoloa Evan CHARLTON: Team Media Manager - Fagamalo/Lelepa/Saleaula/Malie/Leauva’a
Seiuli Salesa SEIULI: Assistant Manager - Saanapu/Falelima
Dean ALLNUT: Logistics Manager - North Harbour, New Zealand
Pastor Lenny SOLOMONA: Mental Skills - Vaimoso/Tufuiopa