The national rugby union team of Samoa is called Manu Samoa.

They are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance (PIRA) along with Fiji and Tonga.

the Marist Brothers brought the game to Western Samoa in 1920 and The Western Samoa Rugby Football Union was formed in 1924.

On August 18, 1924 Western Samoa played its first international against Fiji, the visitors winning 6-3. The return match was won 9-3 by Samoa to draw the series.

In 1954 Western Samoan visited both Pacific Island neighbours Fiji and Tonga but waited a further 20 years before a tour of New Zealand took place. The Samoans won one of eight matches on that tour.

The traditional tri-series between Tonga, Fiji and Western Samoa was established in 1982 with Western Samoa wining the first tournament. Wales visited Western Samoa and won the test 32-16 at Apia. The tour led to a return visit to Wales which brought Western Samoa out of International limbo, although Western Samoa were not invited to the first World Cup in 1987.

The following year a 14-match tour of Europe took place before a World Cup elimination series in Tokyo, which gave Western Samoa a place in the 1991 World Cup in Britain. They made a huge impact. After sweeping aside Wales and Argentina and narrowly losing 3-9 to eventual champions Australia in pool play, Western Samoa, a country with a population of 160,000, found itself in the quarterfinals against Scotland at Murrayfield. The Scots, however won comfortably, 28-6, but the Samoans were clearly the personality team of the tournament.

Over the next two years the side had a number of notable wins. The most outstanding achievement were in Sevens where it won the 1993 Hong Kong and 1992 Middlesex Sevens.

The 1995 World Cup in South Africa proved that the team belonged in top company. They again reached the quarterfinals after wins over Argentina and Italy, but were beaten 42-14 by the eventual winners South Africa. After the Cup, Manu Samoa made a 13-match tour of England and Scotland, drawing 15-15 with the Scots and going down 9-27 to England.

With the advent of professional rugby in 1995 it was vital for Manu Samoa to developed a new administrative structure. This was made possible with Fay Richwhite and the Western Samoan Rugby Union joining forces to form Manu Samoa Rugby Limited, which now manages business for the team.

Samoa emerged from RWC '99 with honour intact after another shock victory over host nation Wales in the pool stages. And again in 2003 in one of the games of the games of the tournament they led eventual champions England for most of the game.

For such a small nation, they have produced an amazing number of top-class players who have gone on to find fame in both rugby union and rugby league including Brian Lima, Freddie Tuilagi, Apollo Perelini, Pat Lam and Stephen Bachop.

In fact, the huge numbers of players playing professionally abroad can work to Samoa's disadvantage when it comes to team training as it is difficult to get them all together as a squad. But Samoa still manage to remain competitive on the world-stage and are regarded as tough opponents.

Famous players

See also