Samoans throughout New Zealand Super Rugby teams
New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises named their 2020 squads on Tuesday night, with around 50 Samoans selected for next year’s competition.
The Hurricanes selected the largest Samoan contingent, with just under 40% of the team having Samoan heritage.
Lock Kane Le’aupepe is the only Manu Samoa among them, but Salesi Rayasi, Jonathan Taumateine and Chase Tiatia all played for Samoa Under-20s in the last four years.
Outside back Rayasi has committed to the All Blacks Sevens programme, so once he plays for that team he will join former sevens representative Ben Lam and All Black Ardie Savea in being currently ineligible to play for the Manu.
Manu Samoa hooker Ray Niuia has shifted north from the Highlanders to join the Blues in 2020, where he joins 11 other Samoans in the squad.
Among them are former Samoa U20 players Ezekiel Lindenmuth and Tanielu Tele’a, along with the internationally uncapped Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, TJ Faiane, Stephen Perofeta, and debutant Mark Telea.
Another Samoa U20 graduate, Orbyn Leger of the Chiefs, will fight for minutes at first five with All Blacks Aaron Cruden and Damian McKenzie.
Joining him at the Hamilton-based franchise is lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi, a Wellington product who will look to make his Super Rugby debut.
The third and final Manu Samoa player selected is Michael Alaalatoa of the Crusaders.
Super Rugby begins on the 31st of January.
Samoans in 2020 Super Rugby squads as of November 13th (Manu Samoa players in bold, other eligibility captured internationals in italics)
Blues: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Akira Ioane, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Ray Niuia, Dalton Papalii, Patrick Tuipulotu, Caleb Clarke, TJ Faiane, Rieko Ioane, Stephen Perofeta, Mark Telea, Tanielu Tele'a
Brumbies: Allan Alaalatoa, Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, Pete Samu, Scott Sio, Darcy Swain, Shambeckler Vui, Len Ikitau, Noah Lolesio, Irae Simone
Chiefs: Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Nepo Laulala, Angus Ta'avao, Solomon Alaimalo, Orbyn Leger, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tumua Manu, Etene Nanai-Seturo
Crusaders: Michael Alaalatoa, Ere Enari, Richie Mo'unga
Highlanders: Daniel Lienert-Brown, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Connor Garden-Bachop, Josh Ioane, Patelesio Tomkinson, Thomas Umaga-Jensen
Hurricanes: Asafo Aumua, Alex Fidow, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Kane Le'aupepe, Xavier Numia, Ardie Savea, Vince Aso, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Ben Lam, Salesi Rayasi, Jonathan Taumateine, Chase Tiatia, Danny Toala, Peter Umaga-Jensen
Reds: Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Scott Malolua, Jordan Petaia