Hala'ufia crunches then slaps Wilson


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


Danny Cipriani talks about past troubles


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


The Human Hurdle Attempt


Springboks edge All Blacks in thriller


All Blacks snatch victory at the death


Richard Hibbard & Kalamafoni double hit


Juan De Jongh vs Terry Crews dance off

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Seilala Mapusua talks about the pride of playing for Samoa

Seilala Mapusua talks about the pride of playing for Samoa

Samoa have always been a proud rugby nation who over time have produced some incredible players. As the World Cup approaches, former London Irish centre Seilala Mapusua talks about the pride felt when representing their country.

A few weeks back we watched on in awe of Samoa as they pulled off a brilliant upset win over the Wallabies , in Australia. While their performances at the Pacific Nations Cup shortly before that had been a bit puzzling, the Wallaby win showed how strong they can be when they get all their top players together, from all the different corners of the globe.

Unfortunately one of the downfalls of professional rugby these days is that to make a decent living out of the game, their top players ply their trade elsewhere, predominantly in the UK and France. That's both a good and a bad thing, for obvious reasons.

Overall though, the experience, skills, and confidence they build when playing in some of the top leagues in the world means that as a unit, when timing and resources are right, they are capable of overturning even the best sides. And if they don't beat you on the scorecard, you'll feel beaten the next day anyway, as the physical element the pacific islanders bring to the game is fearsome.

Just ask Rod Davies .

All the talk ahead of the World Cup now though is about Samoa's meetings with Wales, and of course defending champions South Africa, who themselves aren't shy to mix it up physically. In 2007 Bryan Habana scored four tries against Samoa , but there were without a doubt a few bruised Boks following the match. This year will be no different, as the pride of the people drives the players to give their all out on the pitch.

"We've always believed as a team that Manu Samoa belongs to the Samoan people, so we're always playing for our people every time we pull on that blue jersey," said Mapusua, referring to their tiny population of just 180 000.

Seilala is ready, and if you're not in the mood for the World Cup yet, you should be. We'll continue to bring you preview videos, interviews, and all sorts of little bits of footage and info over the next few weeks as we lead up to the highly anticipated tournament.

Do you think a Samoa have a genuine chance of upsetting Wales and/or South Africa?

Time: 2:39

Posted at 9:10 pm | 43 comments

Posted in Interviews

Viewing 43 comments

Anonymous August 02, 2011 10:01 pm

Upsetting Wales? It should be the other way around! And I'm a Welsh fan! Also, first! Ha ha!

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 1:17 am

Come on Samoa! Loks like they're going to be a threat this time around...

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 5:19 am

Great team to watch - powerful runners and tacklers. Hope they can put together a string of big performances as I really think that they could turn over South Africa (depending on which SA turn up!) to win their group and then beat Ireland in the quarters.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 6:51 am

ref falls at 1:00 = everyone wins

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 8:27 am

there is no chance of a Samoan upset over SA. Wales should be cautious however...

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Von August 03, 2011 9:10 am

Yes!! I'm going to bet money on Samoa beating Wales. In fact, I may also have a punt on them doing the Boks.

Why do teams like Samoa still seem to be perceived as underdogs? I reckon either Samoa or Fiji will go through from the group with SA, at Wales's expense.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 10:50 am

haha how can Wales upset Samoa??.. The only GREAT player they have is Gavin Henson :P .. hahaha..

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 11:14 am

Wow anon ^ with that sense of humour you must do stand up...

On a serious rugby note the best samoan 15 is more than capable of beating Wales and south africa. Tonga almost caused an upset in 2007 and if you recall the fiji performance against SA in the 1/4 they could have been leading with 10 minutes to go, if there 2nd row had the ball in the left hand when diving for the line.

I think Wales are better prepared this time round though. They actually have a few inside centres and a coach who isn't employing a loose game-plan against these islanders. This group really is exciting. 4 out of the 5 teams have a good chance of qualifying!

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 12:46 pm

Think they should go up against Wales expecting a victory. A formidable opposition when they get it right.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 12:49 pm

@2.10 That hit from The Chiropractor Brian Lima is incredible! Sit down!

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ConnachtFan August 03, 2011 1:33 pm

Samoa's bigest problem will be staying on the pitch, the refs wont tolerate head hunting and samoa often get picked on regardless. Would love to see them advance.

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Luxi August 03, 2011 1:46 pm

if they can focus and play some good rugby (reproduce the same level of play as vs Wallabies) they will definitely beat wales, the same way Fiji beat wales in 07.
they could also be a real threat to SA, that game will definitely be full of bone crushing hits ;P

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JOHN August 03, 2011 1:50 pm

Hey RD, there's lots of clips like this. Do you think you could put a few of them up (maybe a few at once)?

E.g. Vasily Artymyev - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5KTf2W1N8g&feature=relmfu


Particularly enjoyed that one, but it's nice to hear what it means to some of the players, particularly some less well known players.

View Video

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JOHN August 03, 2011 2:00 pm

It's up to Wales to upset Samoa if Samoa can keep up what they did to the Aussies, which I think they can.

I know this may well never happen, but it may, but I'd love to see the Island teams all crack the top 10 in rankings. These teams may not be the best, but they have my favourite mentality and style of play of any national teams. I'm not sure how that would be achieved (perhaps a professional league between the 3,incorporatingthem into the 4N, I'm not sure).

I would love to see a third source of real competition in world rugby (the other two being 4N and 6N countries). The talent is quite clearly there. They can beat AUS with no core of players who play with each other on a regular basis so who knows what they could do with the structure of the top 6 countries.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 2:24 pm

mapusua is such a legend. him and odriscoll have been the two best centres in the northern hemisphere for ages now and i hope they both get to show there ability in the world cup

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Von August 03, 2011 3:54 pm

@JOHN - cheers for posting that. Quite surreal hearing a Russian speaking in an Irish accent!

The IRB's video producer wants to turn down the volume of that rousing orchestral music on these though - there were moments where you can hardly hear what Artemyev or Mapusua were saying!

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Sander August 03, 2011 4:46 pm

Hope to see Samoa go through, though that probably means Wales will go out. The way things are going, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Wales finish below both Samoa and Fiji in the pool.

South Africa will go through, I think. Probably won't take any risk and field the strongest side for both Wales and Samoa, which should be enough.

Here's to Samoa of 2011 being the Argentina of 2007!

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JD August 03, 2011 5:05 pm

Seilala Mapusua - a fine Wellington-born Kiwi, shame those Samoans poached him, eh?

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 5:52 pm

His parents are Samoan... what's the big deal.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 6:06 pm

A Samoan, living in NZ, playing for his true country. What's wrong with that?

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Gabe August 03, 2011 7:43 pm

Welsh scrum will destroy samoa and fiji. They may get lucky when countries try out young sides but they haven't got a chance against a full wales team. South Africa/Wales are still clear favourites for the group despite all this bullshit 'samoan pride'

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JD August 03, 2011 7:50 pm

- A Samoan, living in NZ, playing for his true country. What's wrong with that? -

Absolutely nothing.
I just get annoyed sometimes with the claims that NZ poaches all the island talent without any understanding of NZ's demographics.

Apologies, back to the advertised programme..

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Toby August 03, 2011 8:24 pm

The way the Springboks are going, it may be them who struggle to get out of the pool - and yes, I honestly believe that. They have the luckiest coach in world rugby and how he still has a job is beyond me. He is incoherent and his decisions often incomprehensible.

Wales are first up for them and I honestly believe that Wales have the potential to put one over on them in that game. Samoa will fear nobody and Fiji may well have a say in the group overall standings come the end.

We'll know more in the next few weeks after the NH warm-ups and the Tri Nations but the Springboks should be very, very worried.

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Canadian content August 03, 2011 9:49 pm

Well Gabe I wouldn't Plan on it. Then again wales have a bad habit on taking games for granted, thinking 1991 and 2007.

Mapusua is the best 12 in the world, his battle with Roberts will be awesome, as with devilliers as well.

If they play the rugby they can and either wales or sa don't perform, they could easily win both games.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 10:42 pm

"Absolutely nothing.
I just get annoyed sometimes with the claims that NZ poaches all the island talent without any understanding of NZ's demographics.

Apologies, back to the advertised programme.."

Mapusua was one Samoan they didn't poach.

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Anonymous August 03, 2011 11:17 pm

Well considering he was born in Auckland, New Zealand, is a New Zealand citizen and has never lived in Samoa for any extended period of time, I don't see how he would have been poached if he had played for NZ.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 12:59 am

"Well considering he was born in Auckland, New Zealand, is a New Zealand citizen and has never lived in Samoa for any extended period of time, I don't see how he would have been poached if he had played for NZ."

His entire family is Samoan. well the generation above him

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meh August 04, 2011 3:41 am

"His entire family is Samoan. well the generation above him"

And?

If he would have grown up feeling more Kiwi than anything, that's his decision.

Like Manu Tuilagi possibly playing for England. That's where he feels he is "home".

Don't get me wrong. I'm extremely glad he's playing for Samoa. I just don't think lineage is as much of a deciding factor as your simple statement made it seem.

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meh August 04, 2011 3:42 am

I realize that was kind of a rude comment, so I apologize if it came off a bit dick-ish.

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Ijif August 04, 2011 4:54 am

"Welsh scrum will destroy samoa and fiji."

That's a load of rubbish. Last time Wales played Fiji they couldn't move them and Alan Jones repeatedly brought down the scrum.

Of course the eurocentric idea that Islanders can't scrum is still prevalent and the ref called every scrum in Wales favour, even so far as to award Wales a penalty try for bringing down their own scrum 8 times in a row.

Lets just hope pre-games the teams make the ref aware of the Welsh cheating at the scrummage.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 4:56 am

"His entire family is Samoan. well the generation above him"

So Sackey, Monye, Ojo and the Armitage brothers - None of them are English?

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 4:57 am

adam*

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N August 04, 2011 6:01 am

14 Samoans who played for Samoa at the 2007 World Cup were in fact born in New Zealand andwere New Zealand citizens who had never actually been permanent residents of Samoa (though of course they had been there on holidays and to play for Samoa and stuff).

The point isn't that they shouldn't play for Samoa, as they obviously feel a strong connection to the country their families come from, just that the idea that NZ tries to poach these guys is ridiculous.

Most of these guys weren't really offered positions in the Nz national team, so usually it's a moot point, but they have a choice.
In fact, for many of them, Samoa is their second choice and if they had been given a chance in the All Blacks they may well have taken it.

Which would also be their right, since they are in fact born and bred in NZ, learned all their rugby there, usually either live there currently or retire there and consider NZ home.

In relation tot heir family being from Samoa, yes that's true and it's why they play for Samoa, but it doesn't mean they automatically will. It's like Thomas Waldrom, only one of his grandparents was born in england, all the rest of his recent ancestors are born and bred in NZ, so of course it'd be pretty crazy for him to play for England... oh wait...

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:03 am

It isn't that New Zealand take talent from other countries. All countries do it. It's that NZ take the best talent from the Islands and the Island teams get the leftovers, be it from their own country or from NZ. Either way, NZ are getting the best players.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:05 am

"So Sackey, Monye, Ojo and the Armitage brothers - None of them are English?"

Ask them. I don't know what they consider themselves.

My point was that Mapusua has every right to play for Samoa.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:05 am

The Samoan front rowers are all top level players in the Top 14 and English premiership.
Starting players in two of the most scrummage focussed leagues in the world.

Why the hell would Wales automatically be better scrummagers?

Cencus Johnston is one of the best scrummagers in Europe. And you assume Wales are better?

As someone pointed out, against Fiji Wales got away with murder. Constantly binding illegally, slipping the bind, and collapsing the scrum. The ref rewarded them which was ridiculous and no doubt had a lot to do with the kind of bias seen here which just assumes islanders can't scrum for some reason.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:08 am

"It isn't that New Zealand take talent from other countries. All countries do it. It's that NZ take the best talent from the Islands and the Island teams get the leftovers, be it from their own country or from NZ. Either way, NZ are getting the best players."

Well considering 99% of those Islanders (which isn't a nationality but a term that encompases a type of people, like the term Celts) are born and bred NZ citizens, it's pretty fucking ridiculous to say that NZ poaches them.

That's like saying that England is poaching Monye, because his ancestors are from Africa. It's ridiculous, based on total ignorance of the demographic of NZ, and borderline racist.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:14 am

It's like people think NZ brainwashes players of Islander heritage (the vast majority of whom were born in the country of NZ) to play for them.

IT'S UP TO THE PLAYERS WHO THEY PLAY FOR.
NO ONE PUTS A GUN TO THEIR HEAD.

And it's tantamount to saying that only white people and Maoris should play for NZ, despite like 15% of the population of the country being of Island extraction.

It's like saying black people are being poached to play for England, because their parents or grandparents, bloody great-great grandparents were from Africa.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:58 am

"Cencus Johnston is one of the best scrummagers in Europe."

I wouldn't agree with that but Islanders are completely underrated as scrummagers. The only reason I can think of is because of their reputation of loose style of play and hard hits overwhelms any other qualities they have.

Johnston can run fucking fast for a behemoth. He must be one of the biggest players in Europe and one of the fastest props. Great open play forward. He is a bit weak defensively though. I'm a Leinster fan and in the Leinster / Toulouse game this year, Johnston tried to trips with his legs when he was caught out... he's still in my top 5 props in the world though.

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 4:04 pm

"It's like saying black people are being poached to play for England, because their parents or grandparents, bloody great-great grandparents were from Africa."

None of the black people that play for England this day and age are any good.....


Not sure why people assume all these "NZ poach players" comments are coming from England fans....

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 5:33 pm

yeah i reckon

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Sander August 04, 2011 5:43 pm

Is it really necessary to keep having this ridiculous discussion about "poaching" every time?

Rugby is both a global and commercially viable game these days. Some players will choose to play where their heart tells them go, some players will make those decision based on potential money.

Sure, sometimes players might be pressured to choose one side or another, but the idea of poaching amongst the Polynesians is really getting old.

I didn't hear anybody complaining when Tony Marsh played for France, when Sonny Parker played for Wales or Mike Catt for England, Metcalfe for Scotland etc etc etc. Didn't hear anybody complain either when Strauss came out saying he might well play for Ireland soon.

Players will most likely make their own decisions, making the argument of poaching a bit of sour grapes. Welcome to the modern day of professional sports.

For a bit of reference; the dutch soccer team always had a lot of succesful surinam players, who never lived in Surinam. Would dutch soccer be poaching then?

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Anonymous August 04, 2011 6:36 pm

now everyone's writing Wales off they'll probably make the semis. Although I hope they lose to Fiji and Samoa.

Also, pro teams in the islands are not feasible. No money there. And no need to grow the game either, it's already massive.

Japan, Russia etc. are the places to do it. No real commitment to a particular sport, a growing interest in rugby, and a fuck load of wealthy people to invest in it.

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