Census Johnston called up by Samoa for World Cup

Census Johnston gets call up to play for Samoa in RWC. Photo: Getty Images

Census Johnston gets call up to play for Samoa in RWC. Photo: Getty Images

Census Johnston has been called up to Samoa’s World Cup squad after Leicester’s Logovi’i Mulipola was forced to pull out through injury.

The 34-year-old signed a contract extension at Toulouse before calling time on his international career in April, with reports suggesting he came to the decision in a bid to safeguard his future at the French club.

However, he then changed his mind to play in the historic Test against New Zealand on July 8, when the All Blacks made their first appearance in Samoa.

Johnston, capped 51 times, will now get to play in his third World Cup and will arrive in the United Kingdom over the weekend.

Toulouse rugby officials had expressed their surprise at Johnston’s change of mind earlier this summer.

“The fact that he’s playing this match, that surprised us a little, that has unsettled us to be honest,” Toulouse sporting director Fabien Pelous had said.

“We’ll see if it’s only this match or if there’s a view to him playing the World Cup and we’ll decide what to do when we know what he has decided.

“What’s important for us is to prepare internally for the first four games [of the Top 14 season] should he by chance play the World Cup.”

New Zealand-born Johnston, who played in the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, is set to feature in Toulouse’s Top 14 clash with Pau on Sunday.

Samoa have been drawn in Pool B alongside two-time winners South Africa, Scotland, Japan and the United States, whom they face in their first match 20 September in Brighton.

Johnston could be back with Toulouse by mid-October if Samoa fail to qualify for the quarterfinals. He has won three French titles – two with Toulouse and one with Biarritz – as well as a European Cup with his current side.

Leicester prop Mulipola, 28, underwent Achilles tendon surgery last year.

  • ESPN

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