Manu Samoa receive warm Japanese welcome

The Manu Samoa have touched down in Japan and been greeted with a traditional Japanese welcome as their World Cup campaign officially kicks off.

The team arrived in Japan on Tuesday afternoon local time after catching a flight from Auckland.

Samoa Rugby Union sponsors Morrison & Foerster hosted the team at an official reception later that evening. 

The Manu players were officially welcomed with a Japanese Kagami Biraki ceremony, also known as a sake barrel opening, which is a local custom to mark the beginning of a significant event.

Manu head coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson was among those who raised hammers in the ceremonial breaking of the barrel's seal.

Members of the local Samoan community, Samoa’s Ambassador to Japan, Fa’alavaau Perina J. Sila-Tualaulelei and Morrison & Foerster partner Louise Stoupe attended. 

Morrison & Foerster, a major international law firm headquartered in Japan, recently inked a sponsorship deal for the Manu's Cup campaign.

“We are pleased to support the development of rugby in Samoa in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan. We are happy to play a part in Samoa’s aspirations as they prepare for the competition,” Ms. Stoupe said at the time.

The team will hold a one-week training camp in Iwaki City before their first Cup clash against Russia on September 24.

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