Cowley hoping Manu vs Scotland can be a family reunion

Manu Samoa halfback Pele Cowley hopes he can crack Samoa’s match day 23 for their Rugby World Cup game against Scotland, and not only because it’s a massive clash against Tier One opposition.

Part-Samoan outside back Sean Maitland is in Scotland’s World Cup squad, and he and Cowley are cousins who grew up together in Tokoroa, New Zealand.

“His grandfather is my mum’s brother,” the 26-year-old Manu halfback said.

“His parents are coming over, and they’re stoked that I made it as well.”

The pair were lucky enough to have their sides both drawn in Pool A, and Cowley said they talked about it when he visited Maitland (who plays for Saracens in England) after Samoa’s November tour last year.

“We both said how cool would it be if we both made World Cup.”

Cowley, who is from the village of Vaigaga, missed out on selection initially, but was brought to Japan when Scott Malolua had to withdraw through injury.

In theory that puts him behind Dwayne Polataivao and Melani Matavao in the pecking order for minutes, but Cowley said even if he doesn’t get regular playing time there’s plenty he can contribute to the team:

“I just wanna help out the boys wherever I can, and make sure that not only am I promoting myself, but the whole team is lifting at the same time.

“Because at the end of the day, we’ll all win or we’ll all lose together, that’s the bigger picture.”

Cowley said the halfbacks are a tight unit, and they all share their thoughts on where each other are at with their game:

“Whether it’s in reviews, or helping them with their skills.

“We all keep each other honest, that’s the best way to move forward I reckon.”

Cowley said not just the halfbacks, but the entire squad have really gelled over the last two or three months.

“We just wanna put on a really good performance at the World Cup, we back ourselves to get to that quarterfinal,” he said.

The team are now in their 11thweek together, and Cowley says they are locked onto the opening game against Russia; after which everything will fall into place:

“Just really wanna see this team do really well, because it’s about time we get ourselves back up on the map, and I think there’s no better chance than this World Cup.”

He said the Manu fans already know how grateful the players are to have them:

“Samoans are all over the world and they all get behind us, so we just wanna do really well for all of them, all our families.”

Like the rest of the squad, Cowley really enjoyed the first few days in Japan at Iwaki:

“It’s pretty cool eh, especially seeing how respectful the Japanese are.

“A lot of similarities between us, the Samoan culture and the Japanese which is pretty cool; it’s easy to relate to them.”

He said all the engagement with the local community was an awesome experience:

“Seeing all the little kids and that, how happy they are to see us.

“They’ve probably never seen big island boys before, it’s the first time I feel so big!” said the 175cm halfback.

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