8 Sep 2011

Thousands turn out to welcome Samoa

7:55 pm on 8 September 2011

Samoa's Rugby World Cup team has been officially welcomed at a marae in Rotorua.

Forward coach Tom Coventry told those gathered on Thursday the team's arrival in New Zealand was very humbling as 4500 supporters were at the airport to meet them.

A player and son of All Black Bryan Williams, Paul Williams, says it is awesome to play for the Pacific island nation, because his grandparents are from there and it is a reconnection with his ancestry.

Samoa play their first match against Namibia at the Rotorua International Stadium on Wednesday.

The tournament begins on Friday.