I reckon both of those games will be absolute crackers … and the Samoan team looks as strong as the Kiwi team:Matai to miss Test after pledging allegiance to Samoa
Kiwi centre Steve Matai has ruled himself out of this month's Test match against Australia to play for the Steve Price-coached Samoa in the World Cup later this year.
Matai informed Kiwi officials last Wednesday of his decision to make himself ineligible for New Zealand and, barring injury, will line up for Samoa against Tonga at Centrebet Stadium on April 20.
''I spoke to the Kiwis on Wednesday and said I was going to make myself available for the Samoan side,'' Matai said.
''I want to play for them at the end of the year. It might be my last World Cup, so I want to represent my parents. My parents were born in Samoa.
''I rang Tony Iro and spoke to him. He said everything is fine and he is happy for me to do that. I just thought it was a courtesy thing to do. He was happy and very grateful I made the call.
''The last World Cup I played for the Kiwis, but two years ago I said to Nigel Vagana, who is running it all, 'I want to play the World Cup for Samoa'. He said, 'Wait to see how you feel'. At the start of the year I made the decision I wanted to play for Samoa.''
Dragons coach Price was confirmed on Monday as coach of the Samoan team, while Jeff Lima, Roy Asotasi, Junior Sa'u and David Fa'alogo have all also confirmed their allegiance.
Matai's withdrawal from the Kiwi side and Krisnan Inu's pending suspension have left coach Stephen Kearney with a selection quandary in the centres for the Test in Canberra on April 19.
Shaun Kenny-Dowall is guaranteed to be one centre, but Gerard Beale, Dean Whare, Jerome Ropati and Konrad Hurrell are all fighting it out for the one position.
With Sonny Bill Williams returning to the Kiwi side, Kearney could be tempted to shift skipper Simon Mannering to the centres, given he still has Adam Blair, Frank Pritchard and Jeremy Smith in the second-row.
Edited by Jim from Oz, 01 April 2013 - 11:37 PM.