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8 August 2007 PR 07/106

Loughborough to host Manu Samoa training camp ahead of World Cup

Loughborough University has been chosen as the base for the final training camp for Samoa’s national rugby team ahead of next month’s Rugby World Cup in France.

The training camp and tour, with matches against English club sides Harlequins (August 17), Northampton (August 19) and Sale (August 24), has been underwritten by sportswear manufacturer Puma, which are the team sponsors.

Samoa, which is in the same group as world champions England, have played at every World Cup since their debut in 1991, where they introduced themselves to the world by shocking Wales at Cardiff and making the quarter-finals.

“We are delighted that Manu Samoa, with the assistance of Puma, have chosen to base themselves at Loughborough ahead of their World Cup campaign,” said the University’s director of rugby Alan Buzza.

“The Samoans have a tradition of producing wonderful, hard running and physical rugby and will not be afraid to express themselves during the World Cup.

“It is this exuberant style of play that has made them every non-Samoan rugby fan’s ‘second’ team and I am sure the people in Loughborough and the surrounding Charnwood area will take them to heart.”

Samoa are coached by former All Blacks great Michael Jones with the talismanic Peter Fatialofa, who captained Samoa in their first World Cup campaign in 1991, joining him as forwards coach.

Centre Brian Lima is making his fifth appearance at the World Cup, while three Tuilagi brothers — Henry, Alesana (Alex) and Anitelea (Andy) will be following in the footsteps of their older sibling Fereti (Freddie) in playing for Samoa at a World Cup – Freddie was in the 1991 and 1995 squads.

The Tuilagis have strong links with Leicestershire rugby with all four having played for the Leicester Tigers. The squad has 15 players in total playing professionally in the UK.
Loose forward Semo Sititi, who played for Cardiff, Newcastle and Borders, will again captain the side. Sititi and scrumhalf Steve So’oialo will be appearing in their third World Cups while prop Kasiano Lealamanua, hooker Mahroni Schwalger, and wing Lome Fa’atau played in Australia in 2003.

Samoa’s first match in the World Cup is against the Springboks in Paris on September 9, before they meet fellow Pacific Islanders Tonga in Montpellier on Sepember 16, England in Nantes on September 22, then complete their pool matches against the United States at St Etienne on September 26.

ENDS

For all media enquiries contact:

Greg Stutchbury, Sports PR Officer, Loughborough University,
T: 01509 228686, E: G.M.Stutchbury@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

  1. The media are invited to a news conference and photo session involving members of the Samoan team management and players at 1200 on Wednesday August 15. The news conference will be held in the main seminar room on the ground floor of the Sir John Beckwith Centre at Loughborough University. Please contact Greg Stutchbury on 01509 228-686, in advance, if you wish to attend.
  2. A limited number of one-on-one interviews with selected players and management are available. Please contact Gemma Oakes on 020 7482 8578 or 07815 903-833 to seek an interview slot.
  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research-intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2006 National Student Survey, the University gained a top five place, with nine out of Loughborough’s 23 departments topping their subject tables. Loughborough was also placed 6th in the 2007 Times Good University Guide and was named winner of the 2006 THES award for the UK’s Best Student Experience. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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