21 Sep 2006

Pacific Islanders team selected for three rugby union tests in Europe later this year

9:37 am on 21 September 2006

The Pacific Islanders Alliance rugby coach, Pat Lam, has named his 29 players to tour Europe at the end of the year.

PIRA, made up of players from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji, will play three tests one each against Wales, Ireland and Scotland, starting on the first of November.

Lam says because of the calibre of so many Pacific rugby players it was a hard decision to reach his final selection.


Was a difficult decision in the sense of leaving players out, because you know the selectors got together myself, Michael Jones Samoa, Wayne Fiji and Adam from Tonga. And we sat down and looked at the team and the first criteria I wanted was the best possible team we are the Pacific Islanders, we're not Tonga, Samoa, Fiji , and we came up with a team that I believe will do the job.

Lam's selected a number of players currently involved in the Air New Zealand Cup -- including the Auckland first-five Tasesa Lavea , the Taranaki prop Census Johnson and the Wellington winger Lome Fa'atau.

The rest of the team is Simon Rawalui (captain), Rupeni Caucau , Deacon Manu, Isoa Domalailai, Aca Ratouva, Mosese Rauluni, Seremaia Bai, Kameli Ratouva, Norman Ligari, Seru Rabeni (Fiji); Taufa'ao Felise,Tevita Taumoepeau, Aleki Lutui, Maama Molitika, Pila Vaki , Epi Taione, Nili Latu (Tonga); Daniel Leo, Semo Setiti, Henry Tuilagi ,Junior Polu, Seilala Mapusua, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Mahroni Schwalger ,Alesana Tuilagi and Loki Crichton (Samoa).

Meanwhile, the PIRA chief executive, Sakapo Lolahea, says while the team only have 11 days in London before their first test, he doesn't believe it will be a problem given most of the players are in the northern hemisphere at the moment.

There's about 10 from southern hemisphere, and these people are currently playing here at the NPC, and the rest are all from Europe. It'll only be a short haul for them to come into London to meet up with the rest of the guys on the 20th of October.