After more than two decades, Germany is set to take on the Manu Samoa 15s team, only this time it is in Samoa.
The first time the two teams met was in 1989, where Manu Samoa thrashed Germany on their home ground, 54-9.
Head Coach and Manager, Kobus Potgieter, has high hopes that this time, his team will do the job they have been tasked, despite being first timers to Samoa.
“At the moment our preparation has been very good,” he said. “We arrived on Sunday, some guys arrived a bit earlier, and some guys arrived at night. So yesterday (Monday) was just a recovery day. We went to the beach, swam, that sort of thing. We want the boys to acclimatise as quickly as possible.
“Today (yesterday) we started the rugby preparation, but it will also be quite a slow day. We’ll have our first training session this afternoon and then we want to make sure that the boys stay fresh after a long travel but lucky they’re looking good.”
Most of the players have been playing together for many years, and this is an advantage for the 31-member squad, according to Mr. Potgieter.
“I think we’ve come a very long way in the last few years with Germany and with German rugby.
“We’ve got, I would say, good structures, we work well as a team together and I think we need to go back to that for Saturday. We know it’s going to be a very tough game and a physical game and we will have to play very smart against Samoa to make sure we can put them under pressure and to use our strengths to get into the game.
“We’ve been playing together with the same team for a few years now. We train together with the same players for about a year now and we stay together in Germany. I really think that team spirit of just knowing each other is one of the vital points. I think we will definitely have to use that to our advantage.”
Despite the 36-hour flight, Mr. Potgieter is not ruling out the physique of the Manu Samoa team that his players will have to match up to for Saturday’s game at Apia Park.
“It will be a very physical match. We know that and we will have to sharpen our defense. We watched their (Manu Samoa) games against Tonga, Fiji, and although they didn’t get a great result in those games, I still believe that they’re very strong and they’re on the brink of turning that around.
“For some of those games, it was very close and I do believe they are very dangerous and very physical so we’ll have to make sure we know what we’re doing.
“We can definitely try to beat Manu Samoa on their home ground. Like I said, it’s going to be a big challenge, but obviously we haven’t travelled around the world just to come and lose, so we’re going to give it our best.”
The long hour flight is no excuse for the team because they know the 80 minutes on the field will be something they have to focus on.
“Yeah I think for anyone travelling for 36 hours, it’s tough, but that’s not something we can use as an excuse. We are trying to focus on the positive. We have a great opportunity to travel to Samoa and so far it’s been a great experience.
“The people are friendly and it’s a great country. We use that as the positives. We want to make sure when we get on to the field on Saturday there’s no excuses. We focus on the game; we focus on our job for 80 minutes. We take it from there.”
While Germany and Samoa share colonial history, Mr. Potgieter said Manu Samoa is one of the best oppositions they will play outside of Europe and the team looked forward to the challenge.
“I think for us it’s probably the best opposition we’ve played outside of Europe except for Georgia and Romania recently. I think it’s a dream for the players to be in Samoa and to play Samoa. Each player strives to play in the highest level possible and for Germany that’s one of the highest games we’ve played so we’re excited for the challenge and looking forward to the game now.”
Where to after Saturday? “We go back on Sunday. Fly back to Germany and then have a few days rest and then we’ll start preparing for the second leg of the Samoan game in Germany. We will have to make sure we play good enough rugby this weekend so that we are in competitions until next week,” Mr. Potgieter said.
The South African born lad hopes the team can offer the people of Samoa a good game on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people there,” he added.
Co-Captain Julius Nostadt, 25, who plays prop, the team enjoys the humid condition in Samoa.
“It’s pretty nice, we needed a little bit of time to get used to the time change and the climate. It’s a little bit more hot and humid than Germany, but now everyone is adapted. It’s quite good.”
“We’ve just got to be physically a lot tougher because we aren’t used to this climate. It’s going to be a challenge,” Mr. Nostadt said.
“It’s a big challenge for us to play in this game and to perform.
“Samoa has big names and a big team, so we need to stick together put a big team performance on if we want to succeed on the field, so that’s our focus.”