Manu Samoans reminded of their roots as squad is announced

Manu Samoa's rugby players selected for the Rugby World Cup were reminded on Sunday that they must always remember they are fighting for the Samoan flag and her people.

That was the word from Samoa Rugby Union (Lakapi Samoa) chairman and former prime minister Tuilaʻepa Saʻilele Malielegaoi as he announced a 32-member squad to take the country to France.

He told the players that they are privileged to be selected and they must remember the flag that reminds them of their freedom.

"This is the only way, the only way that we can raise our flag and remind ourselves that we are proud Samoans," he said.

"This is a reminder to all of you Samoans and all of you grown up who are called Samoans that you must never forget where your roots are.

"At anytime you stand on that field remember you are from Samoa and you are fighting for that flag that flies high."

Head coach Seilala Mapusua's 32-member squad includes former All Black playmaker Lima Sopoanga and former New Zealand 7s star Ben Lam.

The duo did not play in the Pacific Nations Cup series but have earned Mapusua's faith.

Mapusua told RNZ Pacific News that Sopoanga has not been able to play because he was moving to Japan from France.

He said he had been in constant contact with the players whose fitness programmes were being monitored.

Veteran Chris Vui, a former captain, has been named co-captain with prop Michael Ala'alatoa who led the team to victory over Tonga on Saturday.

Ala'alatoa said after that game that they still have a lot to work on.

"Not to get ahead of ourselves. We put in a performance that our people can be proud of. But there's still a lot to work on," he said.

Former All Blacks Charlie Faumuina and Steven Luatua, former Wallaby pivot Christian Leali'ifano, a number of Moana Pasifika players including Miracle Failangi, and Chiefs' Tim Nanai-Williams have been named in the final squad.

The squad will now prepare for warm-up matches against the UK Barbarians and Ireland before they face Chile on September 16 in their first World Cup pool game.