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Friday, September 17, 1999 Published at 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK

Manu Samoa: Of warrior class

Manu Samoa have a reputation as giant-killers

Just mention the name Samoa and the nightmares amongst Welsh rugby fans begin.

So when the draw was made they could hardly believe it in the Principality.

The reason for these nightmares came in 1991, when a rugby team no-one had heard of, Western Samoa, turned up in Cardiff with a tough, hard-tackling side and knocked Wales out of the World Cup.

Incredibly the 16-13 win was their first match at a World Cup finals.

Ex-pat experts

A repeat of this cannot be ruled out as Bryan Williams' class of 1999 is brimming with talent, most of which has been nurtured in the Allied Dunbar Premiership or the Super 12.

[ image: With players of the calibre of Stephen Bachop, Samoa will pose a tough challenge]
With players of the calibre of Stephen Bachop, Samoa will pose a tough challenge
Skipper Pat Lam and wing Va'aiga Tuigamala will be well known to British fans and both of Samoa's first-choice wing appeared in the 1999 Super 12 final - Brian Lima for Otago Highlanders, and Afato So'oalo on the winning side with Canterbury Crusaders.

Add that sort of ability to the guile and tactical ability of Williams - formerly one of the world's greatest wings - and they are capable of a quarter-final berth.

They play with their hearts on their sleeve and the power of a whole nations behind them.

Lam explains: "A player needs to want to do it for his country. And he knows that whatever he does off the field, he is doing for the country, too.

Chief's command

"Whatever I do, it's not Pat Lam, it's Manu Samoa. My behaviour represents myself, my family and the team."

Coach Williams was instrumental in the change of name from Western Samoa to Manu Samoa.

It is the name of a famous Samoan chief some 10 generations ago.

The nickname, like the All Blacks or Wallabies, has been adopted by the national team and they have recently been bankrolled by millionaire Sir Michael Fay, one of New Zealand's wealthiest men.

World Cup Squad:

Backs: Silao Leaega, Mike Umaga, Tanner Vili, Brian Lima, Afato So'oalo, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Filipo Toala, To'o Vaega, George Leaupepe, Terry Fanolua, Stephen Bachop, Earl Va'a, Steven So'oialo and Jon Clarke.

Forwards: Pat Lam (capt), Opeta Palepoi, Kepi Faivaai, Junior Paramore, Sene Ta'ala, Kalolo Toleafoa, Craig Glendinning, Semo Sititi, Isaac Feaunati, Lio Falaniko, Lama Tone, Robbie Ale, Brendan Reidy, Mike Mika, Trevor Leota, Onehunga Matauiau.

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