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Mauger named Samoan assistant coach

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/05/2017
Aaron Mauger © Tom Dwyer/Seconds Left Images/Rex Images Aaron Mauger

Two former All Blacks midfield backs will coach Samoa against New Zealand after Aaron Mauger was appointed to an assistant role.

Head coach Alama Ieremia, whose All Blacks career ended a year before Mauger's began, announced his new assistant while unveiling a squad of 34 to begin preparing for the Test in Auckland.

Mauger will aid Ieremia for the clash at Eden Park on June 16, followed by a home Test against Wales and World Cup qualifying matches against Tonga and Fiji.

It expands the CV of Mauger, who recently returned from a stint as Leicester head coach and will become an assistant at the Highlanders next year.

Ieremia has named eight new caps, including former Tasman and Crusaders back Kieron Fonotia, who is now based in Wales.

Fonotia will contest a midfield role with two other former Super Rugby players based in the UK, Reynold Lee Lo and Alapati Leiua.

The only current Super Rugby player selected is versatile Chiefs back Tim Nanai-Williams.

A lone Samoan-based player is national sevens playmaker Tila Mealoi.

Twenty players are professionals in France or England while there are four each who ply their trade at club and provincial level in New Zealand and Australia.

Ieremia described the All Blacks Test as the "opportunity of a lifetime" for his players.

"While Apia Park will always be our true home ground, the fact that we are playing at Eden Park presents an opportunity to call that ground our home away from home with all our supporters and families in Auckland and New Zealand," he said.

Among a list of players unavailable with injury were leading front-row prospects Sakaria Taulafo, Anthony Perenise and Motu Matu'u, along with flanker TJ Ioane and backs Paul Perez and Winston Stanley.

Samoa squad:

Backs: Kahn Fotuali'i, Auvasa Faleali'i, Dwayne Polataivao, Tusi Pisi, D'Angelo Leuila, Reynold Lee Lo, Kieron Fonotia, Alapati Leiua, Henry Taefu, Tila Mealoi, David Lemi, Albert Nikoro, Tim Nanai-Williams, Ahsee Tuala.

Forwards: Censuc Johnston, Paul Alo Emile, Viliame Afatia, Nephi Leatigaga, Hisa Sasagi, Bronson Fotuali'i-Tauakipulu, Maatulimanu Leiataua, Elia Elia, Seilala Lam, Faatiga Lemalu, Chris Vui, Masalosalo Tutaia, Taiasina Tuifua, Piula Faasalele, Jack Lam, Alafoti Faosiliva, Faalemiga Selesele, Faifile Levave, Vaevae Tuilagi, Kelly Meafua.

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