Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Manu Samoa....National Rugby Union

Union Samoa Rugby Union

Nickname(s) Manu Samoa

Emblem(s) the Southern Cross 

First international

Western Samoa 0 - 6 Fiji

(18 August 1924)

Largest win

Samoa 115 - 7 Papua New Guinea

(11 July 2009)

Worst defeat

New Zealand 101 - 14 Samoa

(3 September 2008)

World Cup

Appearances 4 (First in 1991)

Best result Quarter Finals, 1991, 1995

The Samoa national rugby union team is the representative side of Samoa in international rugby union. In Samoa, they are often called Manu Samoa, in honour of a famous Samoan warrior, and from 1924 to 1997 competed as Western Samoa. They perform a traditional Samoan challenge called the siva tau before each game. They were formerly members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Tonga.[2] They are ranked 12th in the world. They have recently been bankrolled by millionaire Sir Michael Fay, one of New Zealand's wealthiest men.

Rugby was introduced to Samoa in the early 1920s and a governing body was soon formed. The first international was played as Western Samoa against Fiji in August 1924. Along with Tonga, these nations would meet regularly and eventually contest competitions such as the Pacific Tri-Nations - with Western Samoa winning the first of these. Samoa have been to every Rugby World Cup since the 1991 tournament. That tournament, along with the 1995 competition saw them make the quarterfinals.

Under their new coach, the All Blacks legend Michael Jones (himself of Samoan descent and a Samoan international), Samoa worked hard to create a side able to compete effectively in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where they were grouped with England, South Africa, Tonga and the USA. However, Samoa had a dismal World Cup campaign, defeating only the USA and finishing fourth in their group, which forced them to go through qualifying for the 2011 World Cup. The team however comfortably qualified with 188-19 aggregate win over Papua New Guinea. Jones resigned immediately after the World Cup; in January 2008, Niko Palamo, formerly the country's under-19 and sevens coach, was named as his replacement. He would later be replaced by former sevens coach Titimaea "Dicky" Tafua in 2009. [3]

Manu Samoa play in blue and white uniforms. They do not train on Sundays because many of the team are devout Christians.