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Confusion reigns over Asotasi RLWC no-show

Captain Roy Asotasi has pulled out of Samoa's World Cup campaign amid accusations he didn't want to represent Toa Samoa.
Confusion reigns over Asotasi RLWC no-show
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Oct 19 AAP - Captain Roy Asotasi has pulled out of Samoa's World Cup campaign amid accusations he didn't want to represent Toa Samoa.

In the lead up to Samoa's opening Rugby League World Cup game against Papua New Guinea in Warrington on Sunday confusion has reigned as to the whereabouts and availability of Asotasi, after the South Sydney prop did not board the team's flight from Sydney to Manchester on Monday.

Upon setting up camp in Britain, Samoa coach Matt Parish told the Warrington Guardian he had no idea where Asotasi was.

"He is lost and still in Australia. He wasn't there for the flight," Parish said.

Before adding: "We have lots of young players who want to represent their country."

On Saturday, Rugby League Samoa released a statement saying it wanted "to clarify the situation regarding the absence of Roy Asotasi from our World Cup Squad."

The statement quoted Asotasi saying his absence was due to "unforseen family circumstances and ongoing niggling injuries."

"I want to clarify my situation and subsequent withdrawal from the Samoan RLWC team," Asotasi said.

"Through unforseen family circumstances and ongoing niggling injuries that we tried to manage, I felt it was best for me to step down from the World Cup Samoan Squad, rather than travel knowing I couldn't give 100 per cent.

"I am gutted not to be representing Samoa and playing against the world's best rugby league players.

"We still have a very strong squad and I wish the boys all the best for the tournament.

"I'll be cheering the boys on here 100 per cent, watching every game live knowing that my decision was what was best for the team and for my family."

But that official statement contradicts earlier comments from RLWC spokesman Martin Johnson who told Fairfax Media Asotasi had been cut from the Samoa squad after they had incorrectly named a 26-man squad and had to omit two players in accordance with tournament rules.

""We weren't expecting him to arrive, so it wasn't like he missed the plane or got left behind or anything like that," Johnson said.

"From our point of view we weren't expecting him, because he wasn't in their revised squad when we told them they couldn't have 26 and had to have 24,"

Asotasi is due to head to England shortly to take up a two-year contract with Super League outfit Warrington Wolves.




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