Friday 24 June 2016

EURO 2016 LATEST Visit Euro 2016 Hub

Fri 10th June

Sat 11th June

Sun 12th June

Mon 13th June

Tue 14th June

Wed 15th June

Thu 16th June

Fri 17th June

Sat 18th June

Sun 19th June

Mon 20th June

Sat 25th June

Switzerland SUI

Poland POL

14:00

Wales WAL

Northern Ireland NIR

17:00

Croatia CRO

Portugal POR

20:00

Sun 26th June

France FRA

Rep of Ireland IRL

14:00

Germany GER

Slovakia SVK

17:00

Hungary HUN

Belgium BEL

20:00

Mon 27th June

Italy ITA

Spain ESP

17:00

England ENG

Iceland ISL

20:00


Tony Ward: Samoan bloodline offers glimpse into frightening potential

Published 09/11/2013 | 01:00

John Afoa, Ulster
John Afoa, Ulster

On this, their fifth visit to Dublin since they first came to Ireland back in 1988, it's worth offering a reminder of just how strong Samoa are likely to be – lest we forget that 40-25 hammering they dished out to us in 1996.

Some of the biggest names in the history of the game are of Samoan or part-Samoan descent – and the modern-day list reads like a who's who of rugby.

There are the Australians Digby Ioane, Joe Tomane and Christian Lealiifano, Manu Tuilagi with England, not to mention an incredible connection with the mighty All Blacks.

It's the New Zealand connection that really drives the message home. Take your pick from Ulster's John Afoa, Munster's Christian Cullen and Casey Laulala, Jerry Collins, Sonny Bill Williams, Graeme and Stephen Bachop, Liam Messam, Andrew Blowers, Olo Brown, Frank Bunce, Michael Jones, Josh Kronfeld, Connacht's Pat Lam, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Rodney So'oialo, Joe Stanley, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Tana Umaga, Victor Vito and Bryan Williams.

There are another 20 names that could be added to that All Black list – and it all poses the question that, with better financial resources and the professional infrastructure in place, just how good could today's opponents become?

I'll leave you to select your own all-time team from that lot, but just bear in mind when they run out later today the bloodline and rugby pedigree the Manu Samoans represent.

Is it any wonder Ireland forwards coach John Plumtree has had difficulty sleeping of late? Expect a mighty collision.

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport