Toa Samoa’s opponents for the historical test match this Saturday, Fiji Bati, mean business. The team filled with National Rugby League experience has landed and they can hardly wait. So eager they have been hitting the training pitch hard, anticipating a physical and passionate Toa Samoa onslaught at Apia Park.
Head Coach, Mick Potter said being in Samoa, especially for the first time, is very exciting.
“It’s exciting for the players,” he told Samoa Observer.
“They probably haven’t been to Samoa and I haven’t been to Samoa, and I think it’s good so we can get back to the native countries of the Pacific nations to show the people what their teams are doing. And it’s going to be a great showcase for the Samoans and to the Fijians to try and display their skills, endurance and toughness.”
The upcoming game on Saturday is a very important game for Fiji, Potter said.
“This game is a good lead up as we get to have a look at a few young players as they are aspiring to be in the World Cup this time next year.
“We’ve got quite a young squad, and this is the opportunity for them to show the people and the coach what they can do for potential World Cup spots.”
Although they are missing a number of other senior players, Coach Potter believes he has picked the best team to get the job done.
“We are here to win and we’re not here to make the numbers up.” And so far, everything is on track."
“We’ve worked on a particular game plan. It’s not similar to what we’ve had before, but we need the players to be a little bit more control and we also need to be able to use a little bit of Fijian flying boys to be able to counteract the big Samoans boys.”
So what can we expect from the game on Saturday?
“We can expect a very physical game,” he said.
“I think the contact will be intense. It’s not one for the fainthearted to be out on the field. I know the Samoan team have got a great deal of skills and they’ve got some flair and there will be some very good plays as far as ball movements and a lot of pass and they have some fast players that are playing so you will see some action.” Where will the game be lost and won?. “The team, who will control possession the best will probably win the game. Because they will have the most energy and the other team will defend too much, and the team who will do the least defending, will be the team to win the game.”
Finally, Coach Potter said he is very excited and looking forward to the game.
“I am really happy and excited to be in a new country and to develop the game. And to be part of the Fijian team and the concepts of island playing against island in their own home country, I think it’s a great concept and I would love for it to develop even further.”
He is also happy to be in Samoa in time as they celebrate the 30 years of Rugby League in Samoa.
“That’s another bonus I suppose. It’s fantastic that the Samoans have had rugby league for 30 years, and they certainly having a feast out of it given the number of players they have playing NRL."
“They have a lot of quality players playing in the NRL, and I think they should be very proud of what they’ve achieved, the Samoans, with their culture and adaptations to the game.”