Taramai makes Manu Samoa debut

By Vaelei Von Dincklage 11 July 2024, 10:00PM

Murphy Taramai will make his international debut for Manu Samoa after getting the nod to start as the openside flanker for the match against Spain on Saturday.

Taramai was supposed to make his debut in last week's game against Italy, unfortunately, there was a problem with his paperwork.

"I did not play last week, I was indeed named to play unfortunately due to some paperwork I had to miss out. I got swapped," he said

"I'm very excited, being amongst this group has been very very humbling and to learn about my grandparents where they've come from and meeting a lot of my family here. 

"I'm very excited to represent them, my wife back at home, and my family back at home. But it is awesome to do it here in Samoa." 

Taramai plays rugby for North Harbour and was also part of the New Zealand Sevens team.

Representing his Samoan heritage for the first time, Taramai has his work cut out for him.

"For me, I am not going to let it (crowd) impact my performance, I've got a job to do and pretty focused on that. But if the crowd gets behind us, especially given the boys are really tired, it will be a big boost for me and the boys as well," he said.

"They did very well, two weeks ago all the boys were tight and there's a lot of off-field events that have happened like playing cards, going out for dinners, and stuff like that. I think the boys are adapting fast and well and it's a good group of boys, and a lot of experiences from around the world and it's coming together pretty well."

"This is my first week of camp, and first being in the Samoa team, and I'm looking forward to seeing all the fans out there. And can't wait to perform in front of our nation," added Taramai.

Head coach Mase Mahonri Schwalger has named a slightly changed squad from last week. Melani Matavao gets to start at halfback. 

Aki Seiuli, Sama Malolo, Marco Fepulea'i are the front three with Benjamin Petaia Nee-nee and Samuel Slade at locks,

Captain Theo McFarland will be at blindside flanker with Murphy Taramai at openside and Olajuwon Noa continuing at number eight.

Melani Matavao is at halfback with Alai D'Angelo Leuila at flyhalf. Nigel Ah Wong is on the left wing with Owen Niue getting his debut at openside wing.

Danny Toala and Stacey Ili make up the midfield with Duncan Paia'aua at fullback.

Manu Samoa starting XV:

Aki Seiuli, Sama Malolo, Marco Fepulea'i, Benjamin Petaia Nee-nee, Samuel Slade, Theo McFarland (Captain), Murphy Taramai, Olajuwon Noa, Melani Matavao, Alai D'Angelo Leuila, Nigel Ah Wong, Danny Toala, Stacey Ili, Owen Fetu Niue, Duncan Paia'aua.

Reserves: Andrew Tuala, Tietie Tuimauga, Lolani Faleiva, Michael Curry, Iakopo Mapu, Ereatara Enari, Afa Moleli, Pisi Leilua.


Samoa Rugby Union
Rugby union
By Vaelei Von Dincklage 11 July 2024, 10:00PM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.