Battle ready

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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BATTLE OF POLYNESIA: Manu Samoa captain, David Lemi and Ikale Tonga’s skipper, Nili Latu are ready for a royal battle at Apia Park this afternoon.

BATTLE OF POLYNESIA: Manu Samoa captain, David Lemi and Ikale Tonga’s skipper, Nili Latu are ready for a royal battle at Apia Park this afternoon. (Photo: Renee McKay.)

Manu Samoa coach, Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, does not like making excuses. 

And with today’s must-win Pacific Nations Cup match only a few hours away, Namualuulu readily admits that the results so far – a draw and a loss – have been disappointing.

“We are well-aware of the disappointment because of the last two games,” Namulauulu told the Weekend Observer yesterday after the Captain’s run at Apia Park. 

“But it’s really important that we get the right results for today. It’s been an emotional week, for the players and for the country as well.”

But Coach Namulauulu said his players are excited about the opportunity to right the wrongs of the past two weeks, which include a draw against Georgia and a loss against Fiji. 

 “We’ve had week of preparations and everything is looking good. We started as soon as we lost to Fiji and the boys were prepared to get straight to work and started training after Fiji. 

“Sometimes that happens when you lose a game, you just want to get back on the horse and move forward. I’d like to think that the boys are ready. And we will do our best to repay our fans, our stakeholders and the whole country.”

As the Head Coach, what will he say to the boys before kick off today?

“Obviously we’ve got to make sure that they’ve got clear minds,” he said. 

“So today is all about the quality of our preparations and that is very important. We have to make sure that we’ve all learnt from last week and also making sure that we perform well in this really tough test match against Tonga. 

“We have to stay focused under-pressure and that is really a key message from me to the boys.

“We’ve prepared well. And we have to make sure under-pressure that we trust each other and trust all the work throughout our campaign.”

With some changes to his starting team, the Coach is confident in the players he has chosen.

“I am very happy with my selection,” he said. 

“I never doubt my selection around these test matches. I’m confident that these are the right players to do the job and I picked a lot of players for this particular campaign because I want to see their potential and what they can do under pressure. 

“And some players stood up and others did not. You pick a squad you trust, and I have given these players enough chances to put their hands up, but it means nothing if we don’t get the results we want.”

Asked what he would like to say to the Manu Samoa fan base, Namualuulu responded: 

 “I think it’s a cross road of Samoan Rugby for this test match and where we’re at. There has been a lot said, and it’s about time for action. We all have to prepare well and to make sure we execute the plan well so that we can get the right results for our fans and for our supporters.”

The match will kick off at 3:10pm at the Apia Park Stadium.

The Manu Samoa team:

1-15: Sakaria Taulafo, Matulimanu Leiataua, Census Johnston, Jeff Lepa, Faatiga Lemalu, Faifili Levave, Greg Foe, Alafoti Faosiliva, Pelefofoga Cowley, Patrick Fa’apale, David Lemi (captain), Reynold Lee Lo, Paul Perez, Faatoina Autagavaia, Malu Faleniko.

Reserves: Seilala Lam, Samuel Aiono, Viliamu Afatia, Teofilo Paulo, TJ Ioane, Danny Tusitala, D’Angelo Leuila and Albert Nikoro.   

© Samoa Observer 2016

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