Polynesian neighbours are taking alternative routes towards scheduled northern hemisphere rugby union tours to the point that the Samoans have put the brakes on theirs.
Lakapi Samoa, as the national team is known since the change in rebranding earlier this year, has withdrawn from Test matches against Georgia and Spain while the Barbarians clash also scheduled for November remains in doubt at this stage.
But the Tongans have elected to stay on course and continue their preparation against home nation pair Scotland and England before taking on the French Barbarians and Romania.
Most of the ‘Ikale Tahi squad ply their trade with European clubs and the Tongan Rugby Union were also able to secure one New Zealand-based player and are attempting to secure another quarantine spot in the coming days.
The bulk of the Samoans conversely would have had to travel from New Zealand from provincial commitments after team management cited government health advice over “covid-related challenges” against going on the tour.
Discussions are being held whether it was possible to field a Samoan XV with European-based players who are able to arrive at Twickenham before November 27 to face the invitational Barbarians outfit.
“Lakapi Samoa has the full assistance of World Rugby to find any potential short-term competitions while redoubling efforts to ensure a strong programme of matches in 2022 and beyond,” head coach Seilala Mapusua said in a statement.