Samoa took advantage of World Rugby’s new eligibility rules on Wednesday, naming former All Blacks Steven Luatua and Jeff Toomaga-Allen to their squad for a tour of Europe next month.

The pair were among eight uncapped Samoans in coach Seilala Mapusua’s 31-man squad for Tests against Italy, Georgia, and Romania, Samoa’s first northern hemisphere tour since 2019 ahead of the World Cup in France next year.

Because of their family ancestry, both New Zealand-born players have expressed a desire to play for Samoa and are eligible to do so under new laws enacted this year.

Players who have served a three-year international absence and were either born in the second country or have a parent or grandparent born there can now represent a second nation.

Tonga took advantage of the rule, fielding a handful of former tier one Test players, including ex-Wallabies fullback Israel Folau, at the Pacific Nations Cup tournament in June-July.

In July, Samoa went undefeated in the Pacific Nations Cup against Fiji, Tonga, and Australia A.

When the World Cup begins in September 2023, Samoa will compete in the pool stage against England, Japan, Argentina, and Chile.

Samoan team:

Backs: Tomasi Alosio, Des Sepulona, Tumua Manu, Joe Perez, Duncan Paia’aua, Alapati Leiua, Nigel Ah Wong, Danny Toala, Stacey Ili, Ulupano Seuteni, Rodney Iona, D’Angelo Leuila, Ere Enari, Jonathan Taumateine, Tomasi Alosio, Des Sepulona,

Fritz Lee, Talalelei Gray, Afaesetiti Amosa, Jordan Taufua, Steven Luatua, Taleni Seu are the forwards. Brian Alainu’uese, Chris Vui, Michael Ala’alatoa, Theo McFarland Donald Brighouse, Nephi Leatigaga, Jordan Lay, Seilala Lam, Manu Leiataua, and Luteru Toloi

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