11 Feb 2017

Sport: Brisbane 10s a chance for Samoa to impress

11:11 am on 11 February 2017

Samoa are talking up the Brisbane Tens as a chance to make a real statement on the international stage.

Census Johnston is back in the Manu Samoa squad after finishing his season with Toulouse.

Census Johnston is back in the Manu Samoa squad after finishing his season with Toulouse. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The bulk of the squad is locally based and has been preparing in Samoa since December under Director of Coaching Alama Ieremia.

Veteran Manu Samoa prop Census Johnston has flown in from France to take part in the inaugural event.

He said it was an honour for Samoa to be invited to take part and, especially for the younger players, a big opportunity to learn and show what they've got.

"Playing against guys with a lot of international experience it's going to be a huge event for them."

"We're here to try and win the tournament and make our people proud."

"Any sort of exposure to top quality opposition is real good for Samoan rugby because we often don't get that sort of exposure or experience at this level and we've got to make sure that we turn up and give these Super teams, and teams like Panasonic and Toulon if we get the chance, to make sure we stamp our mark and make sure we get invited to these sort of tournaments again," Johnston said.

Johnston is one of eight Manu Samoa international in the wider Tama Samoa squad, while Tila Mealoi and Samoa Toloa are fresh from representing their country at last weekend's Sydney Sevens.

Another experienced head, former Manu Sevens skipper Faalemiga Selesele, is looking forward to the weekend.

"Compete with Super Rugby boys or even make the final. There's heaps of Samoa local players and a good opportunity [for them] to play the Super Rugby players for the ten-a-side," Selesele said.

Samoa sevens captain Faalemiga Selesele.

Samoa sevens captain Faalemiga Selesele. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

The 14 teams have been divided into four pools, with Tama Samoa in Pool B alongside the Blues, Crusaders and Reds.

Census Johnston said his job would be to help ensure they win clean ball from set pieces so the fast guys out wide can do their thing.

"You don't want to try and kick away possession otherwise you end up defending for the ten minutes...Alama [Ieremia, head coach] has been on tens tournaments himself and he's given us a fresh re-start and look on playing. He's had a lot of experience and we've been able to learn a lot of things this week."

The tournament has a total prize pool of $AU1.6 million, with the overall champions to take home $AU250,000.

Tama Samoa squad:

Census Johnston, Tietie Tuimauga, Ausetalia Vaiomanu, Jarred Adams, Bronson Fotualii Tauakipulu, Ripine Fualau, Oneone Faafou, Faalemiga Selesele, Mikaele Tapili, Liahona Vaegaau, Jeff Lepa, Greg Foe, Lucky Schuster Palamo, Danny Tusitala, Dangelo Leuila, Patrick Faapale, Opetera Peleseuma, Faafou Amate, Meki Magele, Tila Mealoi, Johnny Samuelu, Faletoa Moli, Samoa Toloa.