To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 26 June 1994
The win by the Manu Samoa was attributed by the team coach, Su’a Pita Schuster, to a hungrier and determined pack more than anything else.
Said Su’a, “I think our boys had a determination to play today and the hunger to win perhaps more so than the Welsh. It’s also quite an achievement for them because Wales is the Five Nations Champions. So the boys and their supporters in Samoa deserve to enjoy this win. These guys really stuck it out today.”
He said the team was more organised in play and defence than on its last two previous outings.
“They didn’t allow too much space for the Welsh to operate in, and they made the hard tackles while at the same time they didn’t allow much opposition play to gather momentum,” he said.
The win has also helped in identifying “who should be doing the technical kicking” so that his options could be re-worked, he added.
He said the pressure on the Welsh backline not only stifled their play but it finally yielded the last two tries to the Manu Samoa.
Popular sentiment before the game that the new recruits wouldn’t stand up to the pressure of the game, was discounted by the coach.
“I think they did tremendously well under the circumstances, but now they have to maintain it. Consistency is always the problem,” he said.
Changes for the squad to play Fiji next week will be finalised after the officials have watched the game, and assessed player’s performances. While the General mood may be that Fiji would be the easy beats now after Wales, it was dismissed by coach Su’a who said that Fiji is even hungrier than the Manu Samoa.
“If we all felt like that, then I would go out tonight and enjoy myself.”
Manu Samoa Technical Advisor, Tuifa’asisina Brian Williams, felt that the tourists “got hammered with some pretty good shots” yesterday.
“The tackling was great,” he said. “It was a pretty convincing win in the end but I was pretty worried at halftime because we’d created three or four opportunities and we didn’t take them. They finally came back and we managed to score a couple of tries.”
He felt that it was just a matter of getting back to the basics as the scrum was under extreme pressure.
“We just decided that whatever ball we got in the second half should be used wisely. When Pat Lam scored that try, I just felt that luck was finally turning our way. We’d created so many opportunities and our last pass had gone astray.”
Like Coach Su’a, he felt that the team was very disciplined “and more efficient”, that pressure on the halfback was encouraged and that they had tried to “match them up front” where the Welsh seemed more dangerous.
“Our scrum was under pressure from the start. Generally we got our lineout ball and made lots of hard tackles. We got blown over a couple of times at second phase but we still managed to win the game,” he said.
Tufa’asisina admitted that the weather was a factor in the Welsh performance, but it’s something to be expected and endured by any touring team – even the Manu Samoa in foreign lands, he said.