Seilala Mapusua will captain Samoa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. It will be a return home for Mapusua, who was an Otago and Highlanders stalwart for a number of years. He has been playing for London Irish but has now signed for Japanese Club Kubota Spears. The Samoa squad is heavy with professionals, particularly those with heavy New Zealand experience, such as Mapusua, Paul Williams, Census Johnston, Filipo Levi, Ti’i Paulo, Anthony Perenise, Mahonri Schwalger, Joe Tekori, Kane Thompson, Kahn Fotuali’i, Tasesa Lavea, George and Tusi Pisi and Sailosi Tagicakibau. They will be hoping the local experience gives them a leg up in the tournament.
While Samoa are known for their big rugby players, particularly after they manhandled Australia earlier this year, one of their wingers, 75kg, 175cm David Lemi is one of the smallest players at the tournament.
Fuimaono Tafua will coach Samoa at the tournament.
Samoa are in pool D along with South Africa, Wales, Namibia and Fiji, one of the toughest pools in the 2011 Rugby W0rld Cup. Samoa opens their 2011 Rugby World Cup campaign against Namibia on Wednesday the 14th of September at 2:30pm at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua.
Many are predicting Samoa to be the darlings of the 2011 tournament, as they were in 1991 and 1999.
Samoa Rugby World Cup 2011 Squad:
Forwards: Ole Avei, Maurie Faasavalu, Census Johnston, Filipo Lavea Levi, Daniel Leo, Logovi’i Mulipola, Ti’i Paulo, Anthony Perenise, Manaia Salavea, Mahonri Schwalger, George Stowers, Sakaria Taulafo, Joe Tekori, Kane Thompson, Ofisa Treviranus, Taiasina Tuifua.
Backs: Kahn Fotuali’i, David Lemi, Johhny Leota, Seilala Mapusua (captain), Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono, Tasesa Lavea, Augustino Poluleuligaga, George Pisi, Tusi Pisi, James Sooialo, Jeremy Sua, Sailosi Tagicakibau, Alesana Tuilagi, Paul Williams.