Samoa prop Paul Alo-Emile has described how disappointed he and his team mates were to have their game against the Barbarians cancelled at late notice.
The Barbarians recorded six positive cases of Covid-19 in their squad before they were due to play Samoa at Twickenham Stadium, which resulted in the match being called off roughly ninety minutes before kick off.
Manu Samoa had already changed into their playing kits by the time they received the news, and opted to sing their national anthem and perform the Siva Tau on the pitch even though their game had been cancelled.
Alo-Emile took to Twitter to explain just how much the game meant to Samoa and how disappointed the team was to not be able to play against the famous invitational side.
Paul Alo-Emile on what it means to represent Samoa.
“Okay here I go…I’m pretty gutted and disappointed with the outcome of our game for Manu Samoa. I saw a lot of guys get presented their blue jersey for the first time and saw how much it meant to them,” All-Emile tweeted.
“So many tears of joy and pride were shed at our jersey presentation, with so much excitement leading up to our game, only to be concluded with us receiving news in the Twickenham changing rooms that our game was cancelled.
“This jersey represents so much more than just some material we wear on our backs. It represents our families and our small nation. It represents the huge sacrifice our parents and grandparents went through just so we could live a better life.
“Because of them I was able to grow up in Australia, where I am proud to call my home. Representing Manu Samoa is our way of giving back and acknowledging our family. It represents a small country on a world stage, and that is why I put this jersey on.
“Trust me when I say there is not a whole lot of financial gain from this, but just the love for the jersey and for the country that gave birth to my parents. It hurt so much also to see Joe Tekori not get the send off he deserved. What he does for our team culture is incredible.
“The players and staff did everything we could to respect the game and prepare the best way possible. We were also respectful of the guidelines given to us to ensure that this game would move forward.
“I can understand to a lot of people, this was an exhibition game and perhaps didn’t mean much, but to us, it meant everything. Alofa atu to our usos, and alofa atu to our aiga and beloved country.”
Okay here I go…I’m pretty gutted and disappointed with the outcome of our game for @manusamoa I saw a lot of guys get presented their blue jersey for the first time and saw how much it meant to them. pic.twitter.com/oLyun3rmJk
— Paul Alo-Emile (@PaulAloEmile) November 29, 2021
The Pacific Islands are set to become considerably better.
Although Samoa suffered great disappointment when their game against the Barbarians was cancelled, they did receive excellent news last week, as World Rugby changed their national eligibility rules.
Players can now represent a second international side, provided that they haven’t played test rugby for at least three years, and as long as either themselves, their parents or their grandparents were born in the country they now wish to play for.
All countries can avail of the new rules, although the likes of Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are likely to benefit the most, as a raft of players who have previously played for other countries can now represent one of the Pacific Islands.