Manu learns lessons, eyes Georgia redemption

By Sina Sevaaetasi ,

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Three to One: Paul Williams, Kahn Fotuali’I and another teammate to stop one France opponent.

Three to One: Paul Williams, Kahn Fotuali’I and another teammate to stop one France opponent. (Photo: Manu Samoa Facebook)

It’s no secret that the Manu Samoa delivered a less than ideal performance against France last weekend.  

Having left the pitch at Stadium Municipal last Saturday night with 52-8 hiding, the Manu Samoa has learned a hard lesson in what happens when a team makes too many errors against a Tier 1 nation.  

Head Coach, Namulaulu Alama Ieremia, gave an exclusive interview with Samoa Observer, addressing the tackling issue and preparations that are currently underway for the match against Georgia this Saturday, 

He  didn’t make any excuses as to why the Manu fell to France. 

“We missed too many tackles for international rugby and allowed France the momentum in the first half,” he told the Observer Sports from Georgia. “Equally, when we turned ball over at critical times, a quality Tier 1 team like France punished us with points.”

“We looked rusty throughout the test but gained a bit of momentum in the second half with some energy off the bench. However, although we tried hard and our players never gave up, France were in devastating form so credit must go to them”

The team did not come out of France unscathed and a few key players are dealing with concerning injuries:   Paul Williams with a concussion, Chris Vui with a groin injury and Jack Lam  with a neck injury.  The medical team will assess throughout the week to determine their eligibility in the next match.  

Despite an overall poor performance, Namulaulu named individual players as wells as key aspects of the game that the Manu exceed in. 

  “Our new players had some good moments in their debuts. Chris Vui, Genesis Mamea and Elia Elia (off  the bench) all contributed positively to the team effort.  Our set piece of lineout’s and scrum were good against a solid French lineup. We managed to launch some good attacks off those platforms resulting in Rey Lee Lo’s try in the second half off a lineout move.” 

The Manu Samoa continue their Northern Hemisphere Tour with a test match against Georgia this Saturday. The team touched down in Tblisi, Gerogia on Monday and are already looking ahead.   “We had an honest review about the French test while we were still Toulouse. We found solutions and became aligned as a group. As soon as we left France our mindset was immediately on Georgia. We have had 2 quality trainings but wary that recovery from the French test is critical as we are only allowed limited numbers to travel to Georgia for this test match and the trip over was long.” 

Having lost to Georgia during their last encounter, the Coach said he knows what to expect.

And he wants extra  emphasis on tackling and strong defense for their  preparations this week.   

 “The obvious is our defense,” he said about their preparations.

“We need to work harder to get into system and then commit to 1 on 1 tackles. 

“We have already agreed that systems are only as good as individuals making their tackles. We are facing a strong and powerful Georgian team with direct runners and physical players. Individual tackles will need to more accurate than last weekend. 

“Attack wise we missed too many opportunities through lack of communication and ball security. Once again we need to be more accurate in our decision making and execution of these areas. Tackle bags will take a hammering this week!

“ Our preparation will continue and we will prepare well like we did last week. 

“However, transferring that to the test match on Saturday will be the main focus for our group. Georgia is a quality team as we saw in June when they went undefeated in the Pacific. Although we are under no illusions it will be a tough like it was in June, we are excited to try and put out a much better performance this week.”

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