14 Feb 2017

Sport: Census Johnston targets 2019 World Cup

12:45 pm on 14 February 2017

Veteran Manu Samoa prop Census Johnston is eying a World Cup swansong after signing on for two more years in European rugby.

The 35-year-old has been with French giants Toulouse since 2009 but will move to a new club in the Northern off-season.

The 59 test veteran, who played for Samoa at the Brisbane Tens on the weekend, said he was keen to extend his international career.

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

Census Johnston will leave Toulouse at the end of the season. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"I never thought of it at first but after signing a couple of years more and the World Cup being the same year my contract finishes," he said.

"If I'm still in good shape and good nick and [Manu Samoa coach] Alama [Ieremia] sees me fit enough to join the World Cup squad I will put up my hand and it would be a good way to finish off a long career."

Census Johnston celebrates victory over Wales in 2012.

Census Johnston celebrates victory over Wales in 2012. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Johnston made his test debut against Australia in 2005 and has, so far, chalked up 56 tests for the Manu and three for the Pacific Islanders.

He controversially retired from international rugby at the start of 2015, amid pressure from his club side, but backflipped a few months later in time to play in the historic home test against the All Blacks in Apia.

Tusi Pisi and Census Johnston are back in the Manu Samoa matchday squad.

Census Johnston came out of retirement to face the All Blacks in Apia. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The veteran of three World Cups said he remained passionate about the Samoan team.

"In France you're used to doing the same thing - they don't like you talking much or laughing much before games and it's something I miss," he said.

"The Manu Samoa environment gives that sort of experience: it gives you the culture, I love being around the boys and it refreshens your mind.

"And also representing your people, your family - it's something I love doing.

"Every time I've pulled on that jersey over the last few years it's an emotional time because a lot of people want to try and put up their hands for Samoa but not many are able to do it and I'm lucky enough to be able to keep on doing it as long as I can so it's just a huge honour for me and I just love doing it."