Samoa U20s ironing out mistakes at training

By Thomas Airey ,

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Samoa Under-20 rugby team.

Samoa Under-20 rugby team. (Photo: Oceania Rugby)

The Samoa Under-20 rugby team had their only major day of training yesterday before playing Tonga again in the Oceania U20 Championship decider on Saturday.

After Tuesday’s 16-12 loss, the team had a day of recovery on Wednesday, and today went through a lighter captain’s run.

Coach Mailo Potu Leavasa said it’s the team’s last chance to fix everything before they play Tonga.

“We focussed on all the mistakes from the first game.

“Tonga’s rush defence has forced us to change a little bit of our gameplan, and attacking pattern.

“We’ll try to play territory as well.

“We have to give everything we can to win in this last game. The team will be announced today.

Three players have been ruled out including vice captain Iosefatu Mareko, while fullback Pati Pati faces a fitness test today.

“We’ve still got players in the team that cover that position, but those guys are three key players,” Mailo said.

A key player that will be on the park tomorrow is first-five and captain Simon-Peter Toleafoa.

Born and bred in Auckland, New Zealand, he said it’s awesome playing in Samoa for the first time.

Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby
Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby
Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby
Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby
Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby
Samoa Under-20 rugby team. Photo: Oceania Rugby

“On Tuesday it was pretty good to have that support, that home base here.”

He said it means everything to him to play for Samoa

“I’ve had uncles play for the blue jersey before, it’s in my veins and I just want to carry on the tradition for them.

“I’ve got my dad and my brother here, and mum coming in today.”

Toleafoa said playing in front of his wider family here in Samoa is also a privilege.

“I told them I had my game on Saturday and they were pretty stoked to be able to see me.

“We are hoping for more fans at the ground because it’s a Saturday.”

Toleafoa said his team lost their shape and direction in the first game against Tonga.

“For me as a game driver, I’m gonna try pick up my game and direct the forwards everywhere.”

The game kicks-off at 3pm Saturday at Marist Stadium in Lotopa, with free entry for all.

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