Three Manly Warringah Sea Eagles players will start for Samoa in Saturday’s Pacific Test match against the Cook Islands at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Samoa Coach Matt Parish has named Martin Taupau at prop, Josh Schuster in the second-row, and Josh Aloiai at lock. Manly front-rower Toff Sipley has been named on the reserves bench as part of a 20-man team.
Taupau, who will partner Francis Molo in the front-row, will play his fourth Test match for Samoa after first making his debut for them in 2013.
The New Zealand-born Samoan then represented the Kiwis for the first time in the ANZAC Test match against Australia in 2014.
Taupau went on to represent New Zealand in 24 Test matches from 2014-2018 before making the decision in 2019 to return to Samoa.
“Those who know or follow me know that family, culture and heritage is everything to me,” Taupau announced on social media at the time.
“It is the core of who I am and what I do.
“It is the foundation that I have built on and I want my children and the next generation to recognise the greatness that lies within knowing who you are and where you come from.”
Since then, Taupau has represented Samoa against Papua New Guinea and Fiji.
The selection of Taupau and Molo in the front-row has led to Aloiai moving to lock in his third Test for Samoa. Aloiai made his Test debut for Samoa in 2018 against Tonga.
A year later, Aloiai scored a try playing front-row in Samoa’s 24-6 win over Papua New Guinea at Leichhardt Oval.
Player Media: Josh Aloiai
For Schuster, his selection in the Samoa squad comes after an impressive rise in the NRL with the Sea Eagles. The skillful ball player will make his Test debut in the back-row after just 28 first grade games.
Sipley's selection is also a fine reward for the popular clubman who has really established himself as a starting front-rower at Manly this season on the back of a huge season in 2021.
Rubin Ruzicka, the respected NRL Sea Eagles Athletic Performance Specialist, joins Taupau, Aloiai, Schuster and Sipley as a member of the Samoa coaching staff.
Saturday, June 25
5.40pm: Samoa vs Cook Islands, Campbelltown Sports Stadium
Live on Nine/Fox/Kayo