The Samoan open men’s touch squad for the 2019 FIT World Cup in Malaysia in late April was selected yesterday after weeks of training and fitness testing.
Coach Peter Shefford chose the team with feedback from local coaches in Samoa and New Zealand, the two countries where players in the team are based.
“It’s been an extremely difficult process to cull the squad; the commitment from all Samoan players especially has been exceptional” said Shefford.
Being based in Australia, Shefford has selected his team by reviewing video footage of the players training and competing.
“I have sent players a fitness programme, which they are currently undertaking as a squad, and have had local coaches running the players through some basic game play,” he said.
“The primary focus at this stage has solely been fitness and core ball skills; with more advanced plays and strategies to come into focus in the coming months.”
Shefford said he is looking forward to coming to Samoa for a two week training camp before the team all head off together in April.
“It will be intense, and hard work, but I think the team will get an immense benefit from it leading into the World Cup.
“Once in Malaysia, we currently have trial games against the USA and Philippines pencilled in, with a European side yet to be confirmed.”
The men’s side will travel along with the women’s team selected in December, and a mixed open team put together mainly by Queensland Samoa Touch Association.
Players who missed selection in the Men’s team will be considered for the Mixed Open team, to be announced soon.
The Men’s Open team for Pacific Games in July will be named at a later date, but all players that were in the incumbent extended squad will be considered.
1. Arran Rogers (Debutant) Marist Saints Touch
2. Alex Mikaele Marist Saints Touch
3. Alex Taefu (Debutant) Frezin Hot Touch, Auckland
4. Darren Aofia Marist Saints Touch
5. Faitala Lima (Debutant) Stay Aloof Touch
6. Gregory Hazelman Marist Saints Touch
7. Henry Wulf (Debutant) Marist Saints Touch
8. Hilton So’o (Debutant) Glee Touch
9. Jedidiah Sua (Debutant) Stay Aloof Touch
10. Jerome Mika (Debutant) Sunz Touch, Auckland
11. Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa Infamous Touch, Auckland
12. Prince Lima (Debutant) Glee Touch
13. Rapi Vaai Marist Saints Touch
14. Siilata Tolovaa Bladerunners Touch
15. Sola To’omata (Debutant) Meitaki Touch
16. Tamatoa Ropati (Debutant) Wairere Touch Club, Waikato
Head Coach: Peter Shefford (Townsville, Australia)
Team Manager: Nico Nomani
Assistant Manager: Asiata Gerard Anapu