Five Manu Samoa players in historic Moana Pasifika squad
Five Manu Samoa players have been named in Coach Faalogo Tana Umaga's Moana Pasifika team to play the Maori All Blacks on 5 December 2020.
The players include Alamanda Motuga, Jordan Lay, Michael Alalatoa, Dwayne Polataivao and Sevens star, Tomasi Alosio. The five does not include many other players with connections to Samoa who dominate the line up announced on Tuesday.
Coach Fa'alogo is pleased with his team.
“We’re really proud of the squad we have selected – it’s a great side. We were really spoilt for choice with selections, and as we have always known, players were really drawn to be part of this special team. We believe we have selected a squad that represents a great mix of players who identify with the great nations of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga,” he said.
“Many of the players are contracted Super Rugby players and all but one have proudly represented their provinces in Mitre 10 Cup in 2020. Although Wellington-raised Tomasi Alosio hasn’t played Mitre 10 Cup this year, he is an established anchor for Samoan rugby, having dedicated most of his career to Samoa sevens,” he added.
He also acknowledged the coaches who helped in coaching the players, he also mentioned that some of the players have played in international tournaments.
“We have nine players who have represented one of these three Pacific nations; seven have played at Rugby World Cup or World Cup Sevens tournaments. We are really grateful to have had great support from the coaching teams of the Manu Samoa and Ikale Tahi (Tonga) as they also see this as an opportunity to build Pasifika home nations rugby talent and capability first,” he said.
“For some players like Josh Ioane, this may be the only opportunity they will get to play for a team that acknowledges their Pacific heritage, in a one-off fixture like this, and we’re excited to have them in the mix.”
“We know these players know how to play rugby, and under the Moana Pasifika banner, we know they will represent their heritage with pride. This is a true Pasifika side with all of our players not only identifying as strongly with their Pasifika nation, but they also bring a special strength of tradition, culture, and language from their families. I’m proud of this squad, and excited we can offer the opportunity for some of our players to connect with their culture and acknowledge their parents and families while for others they will continue their proud commitment to their Pasifika heritage,” added Faalogo.
He is looking forward to how the Moana Pasifika will go about on their first-ever game together and Pacific islanders playing under one name.
“I’m looking forward to our Pasifika community turning out in force to do what they do so well, and fly their flags in loud and colorful support of our team against the Maori All Blacks in Hamilton on December 5,” he said.
The Moana Pasifika management teams are head coach Faalogo Tana Umaga (Samoa), Assistant Coaches are Aaron Mauger (Cook Island/Samoa), Tom Coventry (former Samoa coaching staff), Ben Afeaki (Tonga), and Strength & Conditioning is Phil Healy (Blues). A physiotherapist is Nathen Foulagi (Samoa/Niue), Assistant Physio is Muliagatele Ala Leavasa-Bakulich (Samoa), Match Day doctor is Dr Kevin Bell (former Chiefs), Masseuse is Steve Helg (Samoa), Video Analyst is Seti Tafua (Samoa), Media Manager is Nonumalo Juli Clausen (Samoa), Cultural Advisor is Sauila Sonny Natanielu (Samoa), Manager is Lauaki Ramsey Tomokino (Samoa/Tonga/Cook Islands), and their campaign managers are Hale T-Pole (Tonga) and Kevin Senio (Samoa).
The fourteen Samoans in the squad are:
- Naitoa Ah Kuoi – Vaiusu, Aleisa
- Michael Alalatoa – Apia, Fasitoo Uta, Matatufu
- Leni Apisai – Lotofaga, Lotopa
- Gerard Cowley-Tuioti – Vaiusu, Salelologa
- Jordan Lay – Safotu
- Daniel Lienert-Brown – Lepea, Lalovaea
- Marino Mikaele-Tu’u – Samalaeulu, Lefagaoalii
- Alamanda Motuga – Sataoa, Saanapu
- Tomasi Alosio – Levi Saleimoa, Falefa
- Vince Aso – Faleula, Lefaga
- Josh Ioane – Falelatai
- Etene Nanai-Seturo – Salelologa, Falelatai
- Stephen Perofeta – Falefa, Falevao
- Dwayne Polataivao – Fagaee, Lefagaoalii, Safotu, Nofoalii, Safata
- Salesi Rayasi – Palauli, Saoluafata
Moana Pasifika squad 2020 (Mitre 10 Cup team in brackets)
Alamanda Motuga * (Counties Manukau)
Daniel Leinert-Brown (Canterbury)
Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (North Harbour)
Jordan Lay * (Bay of Plenty)
Leni Apisai (Auckland)
Marino Mikaele-Tu’u (Hawke’s Bay)
Michael Alaalatoa * (Manawatu)
Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellingto)
Nasi Manu * (Otago)
Pita Gus Sowakula (Taranaki)
Samipeni Finau (Waikato)
Samisoni Taukie'aho (Waikato)
Sione Mafielo (North Harbour)
Zane Kapeli * (Bay of Plenty)
Asaeli Tikoroituma * (North Harbour)
Dwyane Polataivao * (Tasman)
Etene Nanai-Seturo ** (Counties Manukau)
Fetuli Paea * (Tasman)
Folau Fakatava (Hawke’s Bay)
Jone Macilai (Northland)
Josh Ioane * (Otago)
Leicester Fainga'anuku (Tasman)
Salesi Rayasi ** (Auckland)
Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki)
Tomasi Alosio **(Wellington)
Vince Aso (Wellington)
*Test Capped Player
** 7s Capped Player
Etene Nanai-Seturo - NZ
Salesi Rayasi - NZ
Tomasi Alosio - Samoa