AKI Seiuli is getting closer. He has pulled on a Samoa jersey, sung the anthem and performed the Siva Tau yet the wait goes on to make his international debut.

The loosehead prop was granted permission to miss the Dragons’ United Rugby Championship encounter with Edinburgh last Saturday in order to face the Barbarians at Twickenham.

Seiuli, born and raised in New Zealand, spent the week with in camp with Samoa and was in the changing room 90 minutes before kick-off when bad news arrived.

Four players and two members of staff from the Baa Baas had tested positive for coronavirus and, even though the invitational side could field a side, the fixture was cancelled.

South Wales Argus: FRUSTRATION: Samoa didn't get to play the BarbariansFRUSTRATION: Samoa didn't get to play the Barbarians

“We were getting ready for the warm-up when the management came in, put us in a huddle and broke the news to us,” said the prop.

“We thought it would be good if we still chucked our rugby kit on and went out to sing the national anthem and do the Siva Tau for the fans that had come out and our families that had come from around Europe.

“We wanted to go out and I felt that was a powerful moment for such a small nation so rich in history. We wanted to go out and promote that.

“I’m still waiting to get the first game, but it was more emotional for the old fellas like Joe Tekori and other boys who were going to play their last game.

“They only just got released by their clubs because they wanted to play their last game and leave the jersey with a good performance and in a good place. That was tough for them.”

It wasn’t the first time that Seiuli had come close to representing Samoa.

The 28-year-old He was approached by Samoa ahead of the 2019 World Cup but opted out because he was on the comeback trail from a knee injury and was bound for Glasgow.

In the summer he could not play against the Maori All Blacks or Tonga because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

South Wales Argus:

Seiuli’s time should come soon as he bids to be part of the Samoa squad at the 2023 World Cup when they will go up against England, Japan and Argentina plus a qualifier.

“Hopefully I will make it next time and playing at the next World Cup is the goal,” he said.

Seiuli played in every game of the first block of the URC and returns to familiar territory this evening when locking horns with Glasgow.

He spent two seasons with the Warriors and last December was a member of the home team that were miffed at the Dragons’ wild celebrations after a 23-22 win courtesy of a shanked conversion.

“This game was definitely marked on the calendar and I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, and trying to get one up on them,” said Seiuli.

“I loved my two seasons there and made some good friends. They will come out firing and I guess they always do against the Dragons.

“We’re expecting big things, we know what is coming, but we’re prepared and the boys will go out and do a job.

“It’s been a while since I played, a month now since I’ve been on the field, and we have got a big period with nine games on the trot.”