Pisi brothers included in Samoa World Cup squad

Manu Samoa head coach Stephen Betham has named his 31-man squad for the 2015
Rugby World Cup and included all three Pisi brothers – Tusiata, Ken and George.

Betham has also included Leicester Tigers prop Logovii Mulipola as one of English-based
players to be selected.

Samoa finished in second place in the Pacific Nations Cup behind Fiji and like
the Pisis, Hurricanes midfielder Rey Lee-Lo missed the Cup but has been included
in the world cup squad.

Mulipola has not appeared for his country for over a year while the last of
Lee-Lo’s two caps came against England on the 2014 November tour.

The Pacific Nations Cup did present an opportunity for other players to put
their hand up for selection, though. Locally based trio, prop Jake Grey, scrum-half
Vavao Afemai and goal-kicking fly-half Patrick Faapale, all did enough in North
America to warrant inclusion despite stiff competition from professional players.

Betham said that the tournament had been invaluable from a Rugby World Cup
point of view, even if the title eluded them.

“Of course we are disappointed we didn’t get the result we wanted
but if we consider the bigger picture, we know the task was to test our depth
and to give players an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

“Some obviously did, and some weren’t quite strong enough to unseat
the established professional players in their positions,” he said on the
World Rugby site.

“We have had some late challenges with injuries ruling out valuable players
such as James Johnston (leg), Pele Cowley (shoulder) and David Lemi (back).”

“This has been an incredibly difficult selection process as we have had
to leave behind some excellent players, including those who performed well at
PNC. But we cannot take everyone, and there is comfort is knowing that we have
depth should we need to call on it,” he added.

“I am particularly pleased for the locally based players as this selection
rewards their hard work, determination and focus.

“Congratulations to all players who have been selected. I know they will
represent our country with much pride and dignity.”

Team manager Namulauulu Sami Leota welcomed the announcement by Samoa’s
Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union, Tuilaepa Lupesoleai Fatialofa
Sailele Malielegaoi.

“We are very excited to unveil our squad today. From here we now prepare
to take our squad to England early for two pre-World Cup fixtures against the
Barbarians and Wasps.

“We know that the hopes and dreams of all our Samoan people are in this
team, and that is a heavy burden, but one made so much easier to bear knowing
that the people of Samoa and Samoans all around the world are firmly behind
this team.

“Every time we travel offshore, we are touched by the love and the support
this team attracts, so I want to reassure everyone that our hopes and our dreams
are the same. We dare to dream the unthinkable.”

The Manu Samoa squad assembles on Friday evening and will travel to Savii for
team building and community engagement events.

Samoa Rugby World Cup squad

Props: Viliamu Afatia, Jake Grey, Logovii Mulipola, Anthony Perenise, Sakaria
Hookers: Wayne Ole Avei, Ma’atulimanu Leiataua, Motu Matu’u
Locks: Faatiga Lemalu, Teofilo Paulo, Kane Thompson, Iosefa Tekori
Back-row: Maurie Faasavalu, Alafoti Faosiliva, TJ Ioane, Jack Lam, Vavae Tuilagi,
Ofisa Treviranus (captain)
Half-backs: Vavao Afemai, Kahn Fotualii
Fly-halfs: Patrick Fa’apale, Tusiata Pisi, Mike Stanley
Midfield: Rey Lee Lo, Johnny Leota, George Pisi, Paul Perez
Outside backs: Fa’atoina Autagavaia, Ken Pisi, Tim Nanai-Williams, Alesana Tuilagi
(vice captain)

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