Seiuli makes decision to throw his weight and skills behind Manu Samoa
Seiuli makes decision to throw his weight and skills behind Manu Samoa

Former Otago and Highlanders prop Aki Seiuli has thrown his lot in with Manu Samoa.
The Manu Samoa squad was named yesterday to play in NZ over the next few weeks and there were 13 new caps named.

The 31-man squad will be captained by Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa.

The side will play the Maori All Blacks twice and will also take on Tonga in a World Cup qualifier game.

It was the first squad named by coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua since he came into the job. Mapusua was formerly a Highlanders and Otago player and worked for the Otago union as a coach development officer.

Seiuli (28) played 61 games for Otago and 40 games for the Highlanders before he headed to the Glasgow Warriors in 2019.

Former Highlanders tighthead Kalolo Tuiloma, who played for the side in 2018, before picking up a serious neck injury, has also been picked for the team.

Hawke’s Bay outside back Neria Formai, who had been called in to cover for the Highlanders this season and played some games for Green Island while in the South is also a new cap in the team.

Former Otago and Highlanders loose forward TJ Ioane is picked in the side. Ioane has played for Sale and London Irish in the English Premiership but is now on loan to the Glasgow Warriors.

Meanwhile an extra match has been added to the Samoan schedule. The side will now open its New Zealand tour against the Maori All Blacks in Wellington on June 26.

The two teams will clash again on July 3 in Auckland, as part of a double-header with the All Blacks and Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium.

Samoa and Tonga will then play two Rugby World Cup qualifying tests in Auckland and Hamilton, with the aggregate winner to qualify for the 2023 tournament in France.


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