Fetu Samoa name squad for Kiwi Ferns clash

A number of new faces have been included in the Samoa women's rugby league team to take on the Kiwi Ferns in Auckland on Saturday.

Eight of the 20-strong squad were involved in last weekend's NZRL women's grand final, while six players have been selected from the Farah Palmer Cup rugby union competition, including Manusina international Nina Foaese.

Masuisui Pauaraisa will lead Fetu Samoa against New Zealand for the second year running while Aieshaleigh Smalley has swapped black for blue, having been a part of the New Zealand team that outclassed Samoa 46-8 last June.

Centres Vaanessa Molia-Fraser and Ricshay Lemanu also started last year's clash at Mount Smart Stadium and Samoa Invitational coach Ross Uele is excited by the combination of players he's been able to assemble at short notice.

"It's not an easy process especially with the disruption of the regular footy season but I'm excited about the opportunity to see these women represent their families and heritage in a Samoan jersey."

Covid-19 has also forced Samoa to restrict its selections to players based in New Zealand, Uele said.

"As always there are players who will be really disappointed at missing out, unfortunate due to Covid-19 restrictions and the international travel ban. Last year many of the Fetu Samoa girls were based out of Australia and we also have woman in Samoa that could be selected for this squad too."

Samoa squad:

Masuisui Pauaraisa, Aieshaleigh Smalley, Nina Foaese, Ricshay Lemanu, Vaanessa Molia-Fraser, Cassie Siataga, Onjeurlina Leiataua, Rowena Koonwaiyou-Meleisea, Ruth Vae, Lani Latoa-Williams, Shannon Laamauga Leota, Summer Kapsin, Clementine Varea, Leianne Tufuga, Jhana Magele, Pauline Hunt, Makayla Eli, Mela Maxine-Vili, Glory Aiono,

Keilamarita Pouri-Lane.