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Roy Asotasi has defended his decision to pull out of Samoa’s World Cup squad, after citing injuries and family reasons.
Early suggestions claimed that Asotasi, who is set to join Warrington next season, failed to turn up for the flight to England. Samoa coach Matt Parish told journalists in Manchester that the former New Zealand Test forward “wasn’t there for the flight” and was “lost and still in Australia”.
Asotasi was expected to captain the side in this year’s tournament, but Samoa have confirmed that Wigan second rower Harrison Hansen has been appointed as their new captain, starting with Saturday’s friendly against England Knights at Salford.
However, Asotasi has claimed he was gutted to miss out on the tournament when issuing a statement through Rugby League Samoa.
He said: “I want to clarify my situation and subsequent withdrawal from the Samoan RLWC team.
“Through unforeseen 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 on Channel 7, knowing that my decision was what was best for the team and for my family.”