Manu Samoa coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia believes his team can do much better than the effort in yesterday’s 19-19 draw with Georgia at Apia Park.
“It feels like we’ve lost, I mean we can do better than this,” he said after the game. “A draw is a draw but as a young team we can learn from this. We didn’t come here to tie. We came here to win the game, and I suppose that’s why it feels a little bit empty because we had a lot of opportunities to win the game.”
Coach Namulauulu congratulated Georgia on a good game but said his players would need to step it up for next week.
“I thought we prepared well and I am very proud especially for the debutant boys, they did their best and they will remember this day because this is a very important day for them.
“Although we didn’t get the result that we wanted, but it’s very important that we celebrate these ten players and their first time as Manu Samoa players.”
Some may say that our team was lucky considering the fact that Georgia missed out on their penalty kicks. Namulauulu agrees.
“Yeah they missed their penalties and that’s why we feel empty, not only did they missed out on other penalties, but we also missed out on a lot of opportunities to win as well.
“This is a massive learning for us moving forward. It does show the inexperienced of our team but as I mentioned before, it’s a starting block for us. We’ve got to move on and focus for Fiji.”
Speaking of Fiji, Namulauulu said there is a lot of work to be done.
“We need to work on our scrums,” he said. “We need to work on our set pieces and learn from this game and the way to do that is to practice.
“Georgia brought the strength for this game and we knew the set piece was massive. They made sure that the game was a set piece battle, and at times I saw that we contained them.
“At other times obviously we didn’t help ourselves for accuracy in our set piece.
“As an inexperience dside, it goes to show that if you don’t get your set piece right, things will not go the way we want. And this could be a good learning for us moving forward in terms of set piece, most importantly, the possession that we do get and what do we do with that.”
The coach also indicated that there might be some changes next week.
“We will have to look at our selection. As I have mentioned earlier this week, we’ve got some very experienced players who arrived late so we will have to look at the performances from today and obviously the areas that we need to work on and we will marry that with selection with our experienced players and formulate a squad to take to Fiji.
“We need to make sure that we tidy this game up first and with the experienced players in to play, and then we can make up the final squad to play against Fiji.”
Namulauulu said Fiji would be a very different opposition than Georgia.
“For us, we need to look at ourselves first and foremost,” he said.
“There are few certain areas that need to be improved and as I mentioned before, with some of our experienced players coming in, we think we can work on those adjustments.
“Fiji is obviously a strong team and that’s also a tough task for a young team like us. But we need to step up and step up real quickly. So it was a steep learning curve for our squad today and I’m sure we will move on from that.”
Captain David Lemi could not agree more.
“We need to work hard on our set pieces,” he said.
“Georgia came with the strength because they know they can’t out run us, and that’s our strength. So we are looking working on getting our set piece right as we prepare for the game against Tonga and Fiji.
“We will take the draw and also the lessons from today and use it for our preparations for the upcoming game.”
Both Namulauulu and Lemi wanted to thank the country for their support.
“I would like to thank the public for making the effort to be here today,” said Namulauulu. “You know it’s really important to play for the public and obviously the draw is not ideally what we wanted but that’s rugby.”