Manu Samoa confirm they turned down chance to face All Blacks in July

Manu Samoa have confirmed they turned down a Test against the All Blacks, believing two games against the Māori All Blacks were more worthwhile to the side that has not played together in nearly two years.

Manu Samoa players before a Test against Russia. Source: Associated Press

A 31-man squad was named this morning to face the Māori and Tonga in July, with just six players coming from Super Rugby, and limited numbers available from Europe due to clashes with club competitions.

The squad assembles in Wellington in just three weeks, and having not played since the last World Cup.

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The Manu have not played since the last World Cup and didn’t feel a week's training camp was enough to prepare. Source: 1 Sport

Coach Seilala Mapasua told 1 NEWS playing the All Blacks on July 3 was not in Manu Samoa's best interests.

"Getting them down here, two weeks quarantine, then to ask them to come out straight into a Test match, you're looking at health and safety [issues] there," Mapasua said.

"No disrespect to the Māori but they can give us the best preparation for our focus, which are the World Cup qualifiers against Tonga."

Mapusua said the squad had the chance to unite Samoa amid the political upheaval engulfing the country after the election.

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The squad, which features 13 uncapped players, will face Tonga and the Māori All Blacks.

“It’s a welcome distraction," he told Breakfast today.

"This is definitely a cause that all Samoans can get behind. Rugby and sport has the power to unite nations and I’m really hoping with this group of boys we can put some smiles on our people’s faces.

“This is a great opportunity to breed some new players, grow our player pool."

Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa was named captain of the squad, which includes 13 uncapped players.

The Manu will face the Māori All Blacks in a double-header with the All Blacks-Tonga Test on July 3.

Full squad:

Ah See Tuala - Northampton

AJ Alatimu - Seattle, USA

Aki Seiuli* – Glasgow

Alamanga Motuga – Counties Manukau

Albert Anae* – Rebels

Auvasa Falealii – Papatoetoe

Ben Nee Nee – Kamaisihi, Japan

D’Angelo Leuila – Fraser Tech

Dwayne Polataivao – Pakuranga

Elisapeta Alofipo* – Tama Uli Salelologa

Henry Stowers – Brumbies

Henry Taefu – Western Force

Jack Lam – NEC Green Rockets

Joe Perez* - Laulii Lions

John Vaili - Aana Chiefs

JP Sauni* – Associates, Australia

Kalolo Tuiloma* – Counties Manukau

Losi Filipo* – Bay of Plenty

Michael Alaalatoa – Crusaders, captain

Neria Formai* – Hawke’s Bay

Olajuwon Noa* – Hunter Wildfires

Ray Niuia – Blues

Rodney Yona – Brumbies

Sam Slade* – Counties

Seilala Lam – Perpignan

Stacey Ili – Rebels

Teofilo Paulo – Avalon, NZ

Theodore McFarland* – Moamoa Roosters

Tietie Tuimauga* – Manawatu

TJ Ioane – Glasgow

Tomasi Alosio* – Hutt Old Boys Marist

* - indicates an uncapped player