Samoa veteran Joe Tekori gave an emotional interview after being denied the opportunity to play for his country one last time.
Manu Samoa were meant to play the Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium at 2.30pm today, but the game was cancelled on very short notice after six players in the Barbarians squad tested positive for Covid-19.
The Barbarians have said that they had 23 fit players who tested negative this morning who were willing to play, but that it was concluded on medical grounds that the game should not go ahead.
Tekori, who first played for Samoa back in 2007, was speaking to the BBC at Twickenham Stadium and fought back tears when speaking about how much it meant to him to play for his country.
Joe Tekori gives emotional interview.
“For Samoa, sorry for the game today… We had an awesome week with my usos, my brothers, the Samoan side.” Tekori said.
“We were just walking inside the stadium. We already put our [kits on]. We were ready for the game and our coaches and our management came into the changing room and said, ‘Sorry boys, the game’s gotten cancelled.’
“The room went quiet. I can’t say anything. All the boys, they were waiting for me to say something because I know it’s my last game for my country and it is sad for me.
“I don’t want to end like this, but more importantly, I want all those young Samoans to know there’s a lot of potential in this Samoan team and to carry on. Manu Samoa means [a lot] to all of our country and to all Samoans around the world.
“But for me, this is my last one. I’ll finish like this, this is okay for me.”
— Lee McKenzie (@LeeMcKenzieTV) November 27, 2021
Ireland great Rob Kearney also denied a last appearance.
Tekori was not the only player to have to suffer immense disappointment, as former Ireland full back Rob Kearney was denied a final game against international opposition.
Kearney was set to come off the bench and play on the big stage for the final time at Twickenham, having made his professional debut for Leinster 16 years ago, but it wasn’t to be.
Several of the Samoan players were visibly gutted that the game didn’t go ahead, as they took to the pitch to sing their national anthem and perform the Siva Tau in full kit before the women’s match between South Africa and the Barbarians kicked off.