Manu Samoa coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, has urged members of the public to get behind their team as they prepare for one of the most important games on the calendar this year.
After losing all their games during the Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji, Manu Samoa has gone into camp in Apia to prepare for Germany next Saturday. The clash is the first of a home and away Rugby World Cup qualification series.
Members of the squad will also spearhead a walkathon to be held at the S.T.A. fale today to raise funds for the Manu Samoa and the Manu Samoa Sevens.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Coach Fuimaono said the team was keen to right the wrongs of the past two weeks where they lost to Fiji and Tonga.
“This is our first training day ever since we left Fiji,” he said.
“So everything is fine. We have brought in some of our local players here to train together with us. Not only the two who have been called into the squad, but also some of the players who come and train together with the Manu.”
Fuimaono conceded that the effort during the Pacific Nations Cup was not good enough.
“But then P.N.C is not important to us, the most important thing is the upcoming game on the 30th of this month,” he said.
The coach is also aware that the country and supporters are disappointed.
“The boys feel for the country, we have been called into the squad without knowing that this is the 10th time the Manu Samoa has lost.
“The spirit that is within the boys now is they want to change the feeling of the country and I have said to them that the result in Fiji is not important to us. I think the most important thing is the game that is on 30th June.”
The Coach promised that Samoa will see a different team at the Apia Park next week.
“I feel sorry for the country with the result of the games but I know for sure there will be a change in the upcoming game. If we qualify for the World Cup, then that is the main thing for us not only for the Manu Samoa, but also rugby here in Samoa for its development and for our younger talent.”
Fuimaono calls on Samoa to rally behind the boys in blue.
“We will try to change the feeling of the country and for the people to channel their support to our rugby team.”
Zayn Hilton, the General Manager of High Performance who is working alongside Fuimaono added the team is excited and keen to be back together.
“As Coach Fuimaono spoke about it, local boys coming in to train with us is a really important part of development with our team, looking at the new group of Manu Samoa A players that can step up to the Manu there is certainly some local players that has the ability to be able to do that.
“Being on island is a great opportunity for us to have them train with us together because at the moment our local Super 9 competition is a high standard of competition and where opportunities like this happens once a year.
“We have two boys who have come into the group full-time, Ionatana Tile and Patrick Faapale. They have both come on board to the group and we will travel up north to Europe, which includes the other five Samoa A boys just to train with us.
“It has been a really good cross-section; four are from the Chiefs and three from the Eels. So it is a good cross-section with two teams that are doing very well at the moment in the Super 9.
“We had a fantastic training last week, we know that we did not get the results; we know that for us it is about fixing them because the goal now is about beating Germany, qualifying for the World Cup.
“These six weeks were all about making sure we qualify for the World Cup and we certainly feel that these last two weeks were hugely important period for us to bring us together and allow us to prepare well against Germany.”
The drive behind the Manu Samoa team is to gain victory for their families and for the place they call home.
“We certainly appreciate it as a team that the country is hurting, I think no one understands that more greatly than the team does. The team within itself is hurting because they certainly feel that they have let the country down at times. We, more so than everyone, understand how important our victory for the country is, so the feeling within the group is really strong.
“For us as a group, it is about business and about getting the job done. We understand that for the last two games we have not done that. So for us it is about continuing to strive hard to work on the areas of the game that we need to improve on.”