13 new caps named in Samoa's squad to face Maori All Blacks, Tonga

13 new caps named in Samoa's squad to face Maori All Blacks, Tonga

Thirteen new caps have been included in the Manu Samoa rugby squad to play the Māori All Blacks and Tonga in June and July.

Leinster bound prop Michael Alaalatoa will captain the 31-man squad and is one of 11 players who featured at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Samoa head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua has selected the large majority of his squad from New Zealand and Australia. 20 players feature from the two countries while four locally-based players are joined by seven players plying their trade across England, Scotland, France, US and Japan.

Glasgow Warriors prop Aki Seiuli, former Highlanders tighthead Kalolo Tuiloma and Manawatu tighthead Tietie Tuimauga all earn their first call ups alongside Melbourne Rebels hooker Albert Anae and former Waratahs rake JP Sauni.

Glasgow duo TJ Ioane and Aki Seiuli, Northampton fullback Ah See Tuala and Perpignan hooker Seilala Lam are the only European based players to be included, with the likes of Chris Vui, Alapati Leiua and Tim Nanai-Williams unavailable because of the added travel and quarantine restrictions caused by Covid-19.

An extra match has been added to Samoa's schedule as they will now open their New Zealand tour against the Māori All Blacks in Wellington on 26 June. The two teams will clash again on 3 July in Auckland, as part of a double-header with the All Blacks and Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium.

Samoa and Tonga will then play two Rugby World Cup qualifying tests in Auckland and Hamilton, with the aggregate winner to qualify for the 2023 tournament in France.

Manu Samoa squad:

Ah See Tuala - Northampton, AJ Alatimu - Seattle, USA, Aki Seiuli* - Glasgow, Alamanga Motuga - Counties Manukau, Albert Anae* - Rebels, Auvasa Falealii - Papatoetoe,

Ben Nee Nee - Kamaisihi, Japan, D'Angelo Leuila - Fraser Tech, Dwayne Polataivao - Pakuranga, Elisapeta Alofipo* - Tama Uli Salelologa, Henry Stowers - Brumbies,

Henry Taefu - Western Force, Jack Lam - NEC Green Rockets, Joe Perez* - Laulii Lions, John Vaili - Aana Chiefs, JP Sauni* - Associates, Australia, Kalolo Tuiloma* - Counties Manukau, Losi Filipo* - Bay of Plenty, Michael Alaalatoa - Crusaders (c), Neria Formai* - Hawke's Bay, Olajuwon Noa* - Hunter Wildfires, Ray Niuia - Blues, Rodney Yona - Brumbies, Sam Slade* - Counties, Seilala Lam - Perpignan, Stacey Ili - Rebels, Teofilo Paulo - Avalon, Theodore McFarland* - Moamoa Roosters, Tietie Tuimauga* - Manawatu, TJ Ioane - Glasgow, Tomasi Alosio* - Hutt Old Boys Marist.

* new cap

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