The look on his face said it all. When Manu Samoa failed to beat a second string and “sick” Wales team in front of a capacity crowd at Apia Park on Friday night, coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia was devastated.
“This one hurts the most, it’s difficult to accept the defeat,” Namulauulu told the Samoa Observer. “We were confident we would have better a result but last minute mistakes have cost us.”
The mistakes handed Wales a 19-17 win on a wet Apia night where fans braved the rain to support their team. The loss came on the back of silly mistakes including a charged down kick by veteran first five eighth, Tusi Pisi, and some poor defensive work.
Namulauulu said there are no excuses and he is extremely sad for Samoa and the country’s support.
“The last six minutes of the game was when problems occurred and I’m saddened that our people came out to support the team. We won't have another opportunity like this where we will play in our homeland. This is why I am sad. I feel for the boys and especially for the people’s support.”
Namulauulu said three critical moments where Manu Samoa turned over the ball over cost them dearly.
“Unfortunately at test level, there are critical moments. Three critical moments that we actually fell on in the last ten minutes of the test match and that was it.
“I’m positive that we got the 70 minutes but the mistakes are tough to take. This is very tough one in front of our people. Unfortunately we couldn’t repay their faith.”
The Coach added that the loss will teach the team about the realities of test level rugby where you have to take your chances.
“We have to lift ourselves up very quickly because we’ve got the main games coming up for the Rugby World Cup qualifications.”
One of them is coming up on Friday against Tonga at Teufaiva Park, Nukualofa.
“We’ll learn from this and we’ll get better,” he said adding that he doesn’t expect too many drastic changes to the team.
“It’s a tough one for everyone to swallow, but I’m very confident in where the team is heading and were heading in the right direction. Wales are a tier one country and we almost had them.
“I’m disappointed for the team, disappointed for the fans, but it’s up to us to pick ourselves up.”
Namulauulu also congratulated Wales.
“They closed the game out and they deserve their win. Congratulations.”
Coach Namulauulu’s disappointment were echoed by captain David Lemi.
“It was at the last minutes that we failed when we turned the ball over,” he said.
“Nonetheless I am happy we can reflect back on this game to build up efforts to the upcoming game that will qualify us for the World Cup.
“This is not the result we wanted but we take the positive out of it and move from there.”
Manu Samoa is scheduled to depart for Tonga on Wednesday.