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Vaea wants English return visit

Samoa manager Matthew Vaea has urged England to accept the challenge of a first ever Test match in Apia.

England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa - the top four sides in the current world rankings - have never played an international in Samoa. Under the new tours agreement, Scotland plan to tour the Pacific Islands in the summer of 2012 and Wales are due to play there in 2017.

"For all the years we have been touring, we are always tested on English soil, on New Zealand soil, on Irish soil, French soil," said Vaea."We would like the opportunity to test them on our soil."

England have tackled Fiji in Suva twice but not in the professional era and they have no plans to visit the south sea islands at all before the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Vaea, who played for Western Samoa at the 1991 World Cup and is in charge of Samoa's high performance programme, does not believe that it is right.

England tackle Samoa for the sixth time on Saturday. Three of their previous meetings have in World Cups with the other two, in 1995 and 2005, at Twickenham.

Samoa are ranked 11th in the world but they gave Ireland a stern test last weekend and believe they would be even more dangerous in home conditions.

Group rivals Wales should take that as a warning ahead of next year's World Cup, which will be played in New Zealand but Samoa can expect partisan support.

"It will be like playing in our back yard," said captain Mahonri Schwalger, the former Sale hooker.

Samoan rugby is on the up. Their sevens team are world series champions and the national side won the Pacific Nations Cup in June with a 31-9 victory over Fiji. Ireland were off the boil last week but Samoa had them under pressure in the scrum and left Dublin frustrated they had not sealed the victory.


From Belfast Telegraph