Samoa A Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Limā yesterday said he is open to the idea of his team taking on the Manu Samoa in order to select the best squad for the 2019 World Cup.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer after his team was recently crowned the 2018 America's Pacific Challenge champion, the former Manu Samoa player said a match in Apia between Manu Samoa and Samoa A would be good for the game and ensures Samoa puts together a strong squad for the Rugby World Cup.
Asked if he would support such a match, he said: “Why not! That would be a great idea as well and it will a great match. The reason being is because that would be a really good chance for the people of the country as well as the top people to see and select the right person for the team. I really think it’s a good idea and if it is decided then as a coach of the Samoa A, I am all for it and will be a good chance to showcase our players’ talents.”
Muliagatele said three to four players in his team can step up and become eligible to be included in the Manu Samoa.
He said the players ticked all the boxes required to compete at the next level of rugby.
“As a coach in my own opinion I believe the Manu Samoa head coach should have known of the players here (in Samoa A).
“He should have asked if there are any players from here that are eligible to make it to the team and in that way they can help in the development as well as their preparations for the World Cup next year.
“As the Samoa A Head Coach, I know there are three or four players from the Samoa A that should be in the team for the Northern Hemisphere Tour.
“And for your information as well, the Northern Hemisphere tour not a single Tier 1 team, we are playing against all the teams we are playing are all Tier 2 teams,” he added.
Muliagatele said there could have been a lack of communication between the Head Coach and the Samoa Rugby Union.
“Maybe there was no communication between the Manu Samoa coach and our guys here to see if there were any players that are suitable and eligible for the team.
“I reckon he should have maybe waited until the Samoa A returns then he can see or ask if there are any players that are eligible and deserve to play in the Manu Samoa team.
"But I think it’s because of the World Rugby rules that made him pick his team and release it in this short period of time. But that is my own opinion."