Eight new caps in Samoa squad

Samoa have named eight new caps in their squad for the upcoming June Test matches, with the squad led by David Lemi.

France-based trio Paul Alo-Emile, Masalosalo Tutaia and Auvasa Faleali'i, Ospreys midfielder Kieron Fonotia, Queensland Reds centre Henry Taefu, Samoa 10s representative Bronson Fotuali'i-Tauakipulu, Sydney-based Kelly Meafou and Samoa sevens star Tila Mealoi all join the squad for the first time.

Head coach Namuluaulu Alama Ieremia said the squad represented a solid mix of experience and new and upcoming talent.

“We are delighted with the squad we have named today. We have some very experienced players in the squad, but we have also ensured we have injected some new energy into this playing group," he said.

“Samoa Rugby has been going through a period of healthy change, and we believe we’ve picked a solid squad for the upcoming season.

“We kick off our campaign as we did two years ago, with the opportunity of a lifetime to play against the World Champion All Blacks. Then we play Wales in Apia plus our World Cup qualification test matches against our brothers from Tonga and Fiji”

“While Apia Park will always be our true home ground, the fact that we are playing at Eden Park signals an opportunity to call that ground, our home away from home with all our supporters and families in Auckland and NZ,” he said.

“We have a huge international season ahead of us, and like other Pacific nations we have to manage the fact our talent comes from all around the world.

“Unfortunately some talented players were not available this season because of injury, but it has also given us the opportunity to blood in new talent,” he said.

Samoa squad

Forwards: Census Johnston, Paul Alo-Emile, Viliamu Afatia, Nephi Leatigaga, Hisa Sasagi, Bronson Fotualii-Tauakipulu, Maatulimanu Leiataua, Elia Elia, Seilala Lam, Faatiga Lemalu, Chris Vui, Masalosalo Tutaia, Taiasina Tuifua, Piula Faasalele, Jack Lam, Alafoti Faosiliva, Faalemiga Selesele, Faifili Levave, Vavae Tuilagi, Kelly Meafua

Backs: Kahn Fotuali'i, Auvasa Faleali'i, Dwayne Polataivao, Tusiata Pisi, D'Angelo Leuila, Reynold Lee-Lo, Kieron Fonotia, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Tila Mealoi, David Lemi (c), Albert Nikoro, Tim Nanai-Williams, Ahsee Tuala, Ken Pisi

Unavailable: Logovi'i Mulipola, Sakaria Taulafo, Anthony Perenise, Motu Matu'u, Oneone Faafou, TJ Ioane, Winston Stanley, Paul Williams, Paul Perez, Na'ama Leleimalefaga