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Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Tsunami to motivate Samoa players

George Stowers
George Stowers says Wales were unlucky against New Zealand

Samoa captain George Stowers says his side will be motivated against Wales on Friday by thoughts of those affected at home by a tsunami in September.

More than 170 people died when the tidal wave - triggered by an earthquake - hit Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.

The London Irish back-row said: "It's going to be emotional, but it's [the tsunami] a motivation for us."

Stowers hopes that a good performance would help put smiles back on the faces of people in his homeland.

Samoa famously beat Wales in Cardiff at the 1991 Rugby World Cup, effectively knocking them out of the running for a place in that tournament's quarter-finals.

Eight years later they repeated that feat, although hosts Wales managed to reach the last eight on that occasion, when current New Zealand coach Graham Henry was in charge and both triumphs ensured rugby as the nation's top sport.


Stowers added: "It's going to be a lot to play for now, not only for the people back home, but for the rest of the people that lost their lives.

"Rugby back home is our number one sport and it's the one that's been carrying the flag for Samoa, especially in the past in the 1991 World Cup.

"Before that people would ask where is Samoa and then they knew where it was. It's a little Pacific tropical island nation involved in a disaster a month ago and it's going to be a lot to play for.

"Hopefully we'll do alright, not just to win, but to put some smiles back on faces back home, but not only there but all around over the world because there are a lot of Samoans all over the world."

Stowers, 29, recalls watching footage of the 1991 and 1999 triumphs that have made games against Wales special occasions for his nation.

"I was a young fella watching those games and the two [wins] make a special bond because of it," he said.

"I think every time Wales play Samoa, it's always going to bring back the memories of those games in the history.

We're just going to watch some games and work on their weakness and work on our strengths

George Stowers

"And Samoans always love coming here and playing against Wales so it's going to be a really special occasion to look forward to."

He believes Wales will present difficulties with their defence and line-out and were unlucky not to have forced at least a win against New Zealand on Saturday, when they lost 19-12.

"They were well-organised on defence and they've got some tall boys in the line-outs so we have to match up with that," said Stowers.

"[Wales were] just unlucky. It could have been a draw or a win from the Welsh. But we're just going to watch some games and work on their weakness and work on our strengths."

A collection to raise funds for those affected by the tsunami will be held at the game and the Welsh Rugby Union has pledged to make a donation for rugby development there.

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see also
Peel recalled for 70th Wales cap
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Gatland advised against ref rage
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Shoulder injury rules out Jones
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Wales 12-19 New Zealand
07 Nov 09 |  Welsh
Delve & Stowers banned for brawl
21 Sep 09 |  Rugby Union
Stowers leads Samoa against Wales
11 Nov 09 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Samoa: Full record
31 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
The bone-rattlers: Samoan rugby
04 Aug 09 |  Rugby Union
Samoa rebuilds after the tsunami
22 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Samoans commemorate tsunami dead
05 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Pacific tsunami remembrance
05 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific
Samoa's tsunami death toll rises
02 Oct 09 |  Asia-Pacific

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