A little while back we looked at the hypothetical Fijian side, which was overflowing with barnstorming backs who were accompanied by some great forward talent.
There was a 9-6 split of Fijians and ‘foreigners’ in the starting XV, with a further 4-4 split on the bench.
This weeks Samoan side is heavily laden with Samoan talent who have pledged allegiance to other nations. Similarly to the Fijian side, a lot of top tier nations sport Samoan talent among their ranks, however the Wallabies and All Blacks dominate this squad with 5 and 4 respectively.
If this weeks Samoan side were to face last weeks Fijian side, my prediction would be the Samoan side to run out victors by 1-2 tries due to the dominant forward pack.
RUGBY WORLD CUP (RWC) RESULTS:
Samoa’s World Cup campaign ended with only one win and three losses, in a disappointing result for the Pacific Island Nation.
Their first match up came against the USA Eagles (25-16), their only win of the competition. A convincing loss to South Africa (46-6), an upset loss to Japan (26-5) and a close defeat to Scotland (36-33) rounded out their World Cup.
THE HYPOTHETICAL MANU SAMOAN TEAM
Seeing as I did a hypothetical Flying Fijian team, I thought it would be only fair to continue with the other Pacific Nation sides.
This Samoan side is brimming with world class talent, both young and old. The backline would be as strong as an international side and the forward pack would definitely hold its own.
Here’s my Samoan side.
STARTING XV (International Team) – Professional Club (Competition)
1- Scott Sio (AUSTRALIA) – Brumbies (Super Rugby)
Sio’s inclusion and improvements for the Wallabies in 2015 has seen him emerge as one of the best loose-head props in the world.
The son of former Samoan Test prop Tevita ‘David’ Sio. has continued his families rugby heritage and is no doubt Australia’s premier prop at the age of 24.
2- Keven Mealamu (NEW ZEALAND) – Retired 2015 from Blues (Super Rugby)
Super Rugby’s most capped player (175 caps) has also represented his nation on 132 occasions. He has shown a longevity in such a brutal position (hooker) which not only reveals his drive, but the physical and mental strength of the man.
He brings a level of leadership which would be valued at any nation, something which has presented him with the opportunity to lead the haka on 31 occasions.
3- Census Johnston (SAMOA) – Toulouse (Aviva Premiership)
This 138kg Samoan bohemith is not shy of experience, representing his nation since 2005 over 3 RWCs, while notching 61 caps for Saracens and over 150 games for Toulouse.
4- Will Skelton (AUSTRALIA) – Waratahs (Super Rugby)
The Wallabies mammoth made his international debut in 2014, sending Folau over for a try and scoring one himself.
As a big man who possesses a rare offload as well as suprising pace, he is virtually unstoppable in space.
5- Iosefa Tekori (SAMOA) – Toulouse (Aviva Premiership)
‘Joe’ Tekori adds versatility to the Samoan and Toulouse sides, as his 6ft 6in, 130kg frame can fill in the back or in second row.
With over 150 caps for Castres, including a stint as captain, 64 caps for Toulouse and 34 for Samoa, he provides vast experience that can never go astray.
6- Victor Vito (NEW ZEALAND) – Hurricanes (Super Rugby)
Vito is one of only 20 dual RWC winners, being a key member in both of New Zealand’s 2011 and 2015 campaigns. With a history in the New Zealand 7’s side, he possesses a strong running game coupled with dominant defence.
He posted arguably his best Super Rugby season to date in 2015 and after his second RWC win and with a history in 7’s, he remains a possibility as a late bid for the New Zealand 7’s 2016 Olympic side.
7- Jack Lam (SAMOA) – Bristol (RFU Championship)
His RWC dream has taken him around the world, originally showing strong potential in Australia and being named in the same under-20s side as Cooper, Beale and Pocock he switched his allegiance to his country of birth (New Zealand).
With a few Super Rugby seasons under his belt for the Hurricanes and no sign of a Wallabies or All Blacks call up in sight, he again switched his allegiance, this time to Samoa.
8- Hendrik Tui (JAPAN) – Reds (Super Rugby)
The Japanese number 8 had in injury riddled 2015 season, only playing the final two games for his Reds’ debut season.
The Auckland-born back rower demonstrated what the Reds have been missing out on during his 2015 RWC campaign and he will be looking to make an impact on the 2016 Super Rugby season.
9- Kahn Fotuali’i (SAMOA) – Saints (Aviva Premiership)
Another Auckland-born international, Fotuali’i first made a serious bid for international rugby during his 2010 season with the Crusaders, starting majority of games over All Blacks’ halfback Andy Ellis.
Many rugby pundits thought he was heading for the black jersey, however he was to don the Samoan blue during the 2010 end-of-season tour. He didn’t take long to make an impact on the international scene, scoring a try and earning Man Of The Match on his debut against Japan.
10- Matt Toomua (AUSTRALIA) – Brumbies (Super Rugby)
Toomua’s attacking prowess and devastating defensive have seen him spend equal time at fly-half and inside centre.
The Wallabies playmaker has recently signed a deal with Leicester for the 2016-17 season, which has been cause for concern for Australian rugby fans and officials. It is not uncommon for players in their twilight years to sign abroad, however at 25 Toomua is in his prime.
11- Joe Tomane (AUSTRALIA) – Brumbies (Super Rugby)
The ex-NRL youngster made the code-switch to Union in 2012, making his Wallabies in the same year.
Prior to his 4 year stint in the NRL, the powerful speedster represented the Australian Schools team, alongside James O’Conner and Matt Toomua. The world-class winger has reportedly started a bidding war for his services, after apparently being linked to a Montpellier deal post 2016.
12- Christian Leali’ifano (AUSTRALIA) – Brumbies (Super Rugby)
Another player who is as comfortable at fly-half as inside centre, Leali’ifano’s footwork and passing precision have seen him represent Australia at schools level, sevens, under 21s and for the Wallabies.
With 635 points for the Brumbies, he is ranked as their second highest all-time point scorer and at the age of 28, he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
13- Ma’a Nonu (NEW ZEALAND) – Toulon (TOP 14)
Arguably the worlds premier inside centre, Nonu would have to be shifted to outside centre in this star studded side.
The barnstorming, 107kg centre narrowly missed out on All Blacks selection for the 2007 RWC, however he went on to star in the black jersey throughout the 2011 and 2015 RWC successes.
The household name has signed for the Toulon for the 2015-16 season, strengthening potentially the worlds strongest club.
14- Julian Savea (NEW ZEALAND) – Hurricanes (Super Rugby)
Drawing comparisons to the late Jonah Lomu, Savea stands at 6ft 4in and weighs in at 109kg.
With almost every touch of the ball, Savea leaves numerous defenders sprawled out in the ground in his wake. It is this trait that has led him to receive the nickname ‘The Bus’.
15- Tim Nanai-Williams (SAMOA) – Ricoh Black Rams (Japanese TOP League)
Nanai-Williams was the first player to make use of the eligibility laws, which has seen him represent both the All Blacks and Samoa.
This nippy utility back has speed to burn and can fill in at fullback, winger or centre, making him a valuable addition to any team.
16- Motu Matu’u (SAMOA) – Hurricanes (Super Rugby)
17- Sakaria Taulafo (SAMOA) – Stade Francais (TOP 14)
18- Anthony Perenise (SAMOA) – Bristol (RFU Championship)
19- Filo Paulo (SAMOA) – Benetton treviso (PRO 12)
20- Ardie Savea (NEW ZEALAND U20’s) – Hurricanes (Super Rugby)
21- Vavao Afemai (SAMOA) – Samoan 7s (HSBC World 7s Series)
22- Male Sa’u (JAPAN) – Rebels (Super Rugby)
23- Sonny-Bill Williams (NEW ZEALAND) – New Zealand 7s (HSBC World 7s Series)
Players who just missed out:
Jack Lam, Tusi Pisi and Alesana Tuilagi all from Samoa.
Lima Sopoaga, Francis Saili and Robbie Fruean from New Zealand
Peter Betham, Ben Tapuai, Chris Feauai-Sautia and Karmichael Hunt from Australia.
Thretton Palamo from America.