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Saints great entertainers aim to shake up the rugby world

 Ken and George PisiSaints bruise brothers George and Ken Pisi have a dream: to team up with older brother Tusi for Samoa at next year’s Rugby World Cup and smash England in the final.

The Pisis have proved a smash-hit for Northampton over the last three seasons, continuing a proud tradition of top-class Samoans plying their trade in England.

And as George and Ken have thrived since joining Saints in 2011 and 2012 respectively, so Samoa’s hopes of making an impact are steadily rising.

“Samoa going all the way and getting to the final against England is our aim,” George Pisi, 27, confidently tells The Rugby Paper.

“We’ve got a decent Pool, a good mix of youth and experience and we should be getting to quarter-finals and semi-finals at least.”

Ken, 25, agrees. “We’ve got a real chance next year,” he said. “We fell short in New Zealand last time but we’ll embrace the underdog status next year. There’s such a strong brotherhood between us when we get together and that’s very powerful.

“We’ve all got that desire to play for our country and for the jersey and it would be a dream to represent Samoa at a World Cup with my brothers. We haven’t done that yet, so to do so would be fantastic.”

George and Ken are following a trail blazed at Saints by Pat Lam, when the never-say-die Samoan No.8 captained the Franklin’s Gardens outfit to Heineken Cup final glory over Munster in 2000.

Countless other Samoans have graced the English game, such as Gloucester trio Junior Paramore, Terry Fanolua and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and London Irish’s Seilala Mapusua.

George says: “There’s a good group of Islanders at Northampton – Kahn Fotuali’i, Salesi Ma’afu and Samu Manoa. In rugby-terms we fit in well because in England you can express yourselves.

“Northampton give me freedom to have a crack and I’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s great to have Ken here as well and we’re very close.”

Physicality is a Samoan hallmark – ask Shane Geraghty, the recipient of a monster hit from George last weekend.

George explains: “Being brought up in New Zealand you just love the physical contact side of rugby. We thrive on it and are known for it.

“It comes with the territory and if you can be more physical and dominant than the other team, you’re going to come out on top.”

Ken admires his older brother, saying: “We give each other positive criticism about our games and you’ll see George growling at me on the field sometimes; but I don’t see that as bad because I’ve a lot of respect for him.”

Of his own Premiership experience, Ken adds: “There’s a good history of Island guys in England. It’s pretty easy for us to settle here and the local boys are very welcoming towards us.

“I was shocked when I first came and we had a packed stadium for a pre-season game. You wouldn’t get that in New Zealand and what’s impressed me most is how passionate the fans are here.”

Saints overcame a recent blip to beat London Irish last weekend and are well placed to reach a second successive Premiership final.

Last year’s defeat to Leicester was a bitter pill to swallow, but George adds: “We’ve been over a speed bump but we’re still in a good position. It’s good to be back in the play-offs again and I think we can crack it this time.”


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