Absent Asotasi defends himself
Roy Asotasi has defended his decision to pull out of Samoa's World Cup team amid suggestions he failed to turn up for the departure to England.
Samoa coach Matt Parish told journalists on arrival in Manchester that the former New Zealand Test forward "wasn't there for the flight" and was "lost and still in Australia".
But Warrington-bound Asotasi, who captained Samoa against Tonga earlier this year and was expected to lead them in the World Cup, said he was gutted to miss out on the tournament.
In a statement issued through Rugby League Samoa, Asotasi 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."
Rugby League Samoa president Tagaloa Fa'afouina Su'a harboured no ill-feelings towards the South Sydney prop, who will link up with Warrington ahead of the 2014 season.
"We at Rugby League Samoa respect decisions by players, knowing that their action is in the best interest of the whole team," he said. "Hence, we protect both our players and our team.
"We expect lots of challenges and ups and downs but, no doubt, these will make us stronger."
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.