Mapusua, Tuilagi and Lam return for Manu
Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham pulled a few surprises when he announced his team for their Northern Hemisphere tour yesterday.
First was the inclusion of veteran players SeilalaMapusua and AlesanaTuilagi in his 30-man squad for test matches against Canada, Wales and France in November.
Mapusua and Tuilagi were among a host of senior players dumped from the team following last year’s controversial Rugby World Cup campaign in New Zealand.
Second, former Manu Samoa captain and sacked Auckland Blues coach, Pat Lam was named in the management team as “Attack and Mentor” coach.
Also back on the coaching staff is Super 15 winning coach, Tom Conventry who is Forward coach.
Betham was not immediately available yesterday to discuss his selection.
The Samoa Rugby Union, however, issued a brief statement to accompany the team list. It reads: “The Manu Samoa 15’s Head Coach, Stephan Betham had named Manu Samoa’s Northern Hemisphere Tour team. Manu Samoa will be playing three tests on tour, against Canada on the 9th, Wales on the 16th and France on the 24th of November.
“Head Coach Betham says the team will assemble for three days in London, on the 29th, 30th and 31st, of October prior to the team’s first game against Canada.
“Local based players and Management will leave on the 23rd of October.”
On paper, Betham’s team features a healthy mix of new and experienced heads. ReupenaLeavasa and Robert Lilomaiava the only locally-based players.