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Manu Samoa star banned from Wales match

James So'oialo has been banned for three weeks but the Samoa Rugby Union is likely to appeal the decision. [photo:Skeatesimages / Samoa Observer]

Manu Samoa has been dealt a major blow ahead of their test match against Wales this Saturday. Fullback James So’oialo has been banned for three weeks after he was found guilty of a shoulder charge in the game against Canada, last weekend.

The decision means So’oialo – who is also team’s main goal kicker - will miss both tests against Wales and France.

“This obviously is a big blow for us as a team as we prepare for Wales,” said Manager Namulauulu Sami Leota.

“As expected, he (James) is devastated by the findings especially that this is first offending as a player.

“We are consulting our lawyers at the moment and we are likely to appeal these findings and sentence by the Judicial officer.

“We feel that the sentence is too excessive and the findings can be challenged, but we will be guided by our lawyers advise.”

Apart from So’oialo, the team has also ruled out Alafoti Faosiliva and Seitaimata Sa due to injuries.

“Both injuries are being nurtured at the camp and both players will not be considered for Wales game but they might come right in the our last game with France.”

But it’s not all bad news for the Manu Samoa camp.

Hooker Ti’i Paulo and Paul Williams have joined the team in Cardiff from France where they are based and will be considered for selection for Wales. Coach Stephen Betham is expected to name his starting team tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Namulauulu said the team are in high spirits.

“Whilst we are happy with the outcome of the Canadian game, we realised that there is a much harder and bigger task ahead in facing this years Six Nations champs, Wales,” he said.

“The fact that they lost to Argentina in the weekend will no doubt put pressure on them to go hard out in their next game before their home crowd and supporters.



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