Samoa withdraw from November Tests over travel problems

Sydney (AFP) –


The Samoan Rugby Union, Lakapi Samoa, said on Monday it had withdrawn from three November Tests in Europe due to coronavirus travel problems.

The Pacific Islanders were scheduled to face Georgia, Spain and the Barbarians next month.

"The decision by the Lakapi Samoa Board was taken in line with the relevant Samoa Government's Health Special Travel Advice and recognise further Covid-related challenges in relation to players based in New Zealand," the governing body said.

Head coach Seilala Mapusua said discussions were being held over fielding a Samoa side with players who are able to travel for the BaaBaas fixture on November 27.

"Lakapi Samoa has the full assistance of World Rugby to find any potential short-term competitions while redoubling efforts to ensure a strong programme of matches in 2022 and beyond," the former London Irish centre said in a statement.

"Both parties are committed to secure a "Manu Samoa selection" fixture against the UK Barbarians, involving Europe-based players and coaches.

"Hoping that things can get better in the near future for our build up to RWC2023," he added on Twitter.

Manu Samoa 7s have also pulled out of two Sevens World Series legs in Dubai in November and December.

Later on Monday, the BaaBaas added Australia fly-half Quade Cooper as well as South Africa props Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe to their squad for the fixture at Twickenham.