Wales excited about Manu challenge
Wales backs coach Matt Sherratt is feeling confident about their winning chances at the Apia Park after they put away Tonga, 24-6, last Friday.
“We were glad to get the win,” he said. “It wasn’t a fantastic performance, but a typical first performance. Much like Manu Samoa’s vs the All Blacks, I imagine both sides will be better prepared this week.”
Having lost a large number of their more experienced players, including Leigh Half-Penny, George North and Sam Warburton, the team is in a positive frame of mind in Samoa.
“We are obviously delighted for those players, it’s a massive honour to be called up,” he said about their selection to the Lions.
“We want to get two things out of this tour, we want to win obviously, but we also wanted to blood some youngsters and losing those players is going to hit the team a little bit because they were leaders, but it gives those players an opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the world.”
The line-up has changed dramatically due to the Lion’s tour, with the loss of several key players.
Captain Jamie Roberts will lead the way with 92 caps to his name.
“I think with all the new caps we’re looking for them to step up but also with the older more experienced players, it’s helping those new caps,” Sheratt said.
Having just arrived, he added that the players are recovering well and trying to acclimatise to the heat and humidity which gives the Manu Samoa side an advantage.
“Obviously there has been a fair bit of travel so the players are tired.”
The team plan to take today off and explore Samoa, an opportunity the entire team is pleased about.
“From our whole trip, I know that it was Samoa that everybody was excited to visit, because obviously it’s such a beautiful place.”
Seasoned Flanker Aaron Shingler will be one of the experienced players coaches will be looking to, to lead the way.
Shingler told the Observer he was excited to face the famous Manu Samoa, and expects it to be a very physical match.
Unfazed by the loss of players, he said: “Training has been competitive, so the boys are going to come in and do the same job as the ones that have left. It’s exciting to play with this group.”
Rattled by the challenging game against Tonga, Shingler is glad to have got the results the team needed, adding that “It’s simple we have go to win the game.
We will do whatever we can to win.”
With a win already under their belts, Friday’s match will be a clash of two powerful forces. The Manu Samoa side will undoubtedly be recovering from their match against All Blacks and eager to show their home crowd the win the whole country wants. Coming back with vengeance, Manu Samoa look to be a tough side to face.