Skipper Lemi talks up courage, faith
Today is judgment day. The tough slog for both Samoa and Georgia is over and now it’s just a matter of getting on the paddock and executing the game plan.
At the Manu Samoa’s captain’s run yesterday, Skipper David Lemi said his men are ready to do the best they can to make Samoa proud.
“I just want our country and our fans to have faith in us and our team,” the veteran winger told the Weekend Observer.
“We’ve got a new team, new management and coach as well but like Namulaulu said, we are building a team for the future and so this is just the beginning for most of these players. We want our country to have faith in our boys.
“I have faith in this team and I know that all of them are nervous and are eager to do their best to impress our people. I know this because I’ve been in their shoes before. Today is a big day for us and we are going to do our best to make our nation proud.”
Lemi said the Manu Samoa is as ready as they could be.
“The boys have been great during training and we are in a good place for the game. Come 3’oclock tomorrow (today), we will go out and deliver to the best of our ability all we’ve worked on for the past few days.”
Lemi said it is always exciting to play at Apia Park and with 42 caps under his belt, he is jumping at the opportunity to don the blue jersey once more.
“All that’s left to do now is for us to deliver what the coach and management had taught us. Not forgetting our prayers. That’s the last thing we always do an hour before the game. We will gather together as a family and pray to God, who is the provider to guide us.”
A proud Samoan, Lemi said it is hardest to play in front of Samoans.
“We always say that we are confident in ourselves and our preparations.
“But it’s natural that when its hours away from the kick off, we all would be nervous. But I think the main thing is to focus on ourselves. We don’t know what Georgia will bring but we don’t have to worry about that, we just need to stay focused and make sure we execute our plan.
“We’ve got a new team and I’m sure that they are all excited and nervous at the same time. But I’m sure that once the whistle blows, that nervousness will fade away.”
The Skipper said he is extremely happy for the nine new caps named in the playing 23.
“It’s been an amazing feeling working with these new players,” he said.
“I’ve seen the willingness in them for the game especially in representing our country. I’m really excited and thrilled to see this in our young players.
“They have been unbelievable in the past few days of training; they’ve put in a lot of effort and hard work preparing for today’s game.
“I am excited for them and I wish them all the best. I know the whole country is going to be cheering for the team today and now we just have to pray to God to provide us with the strength and energy.”
As the captain, what would he tell his players before the game?
“Don’t stop believing in yourself and the team. All the preparations have been done already both mentally and physically. “I think it’s important to stay focused and stick to the plan we’ve been working on all throughout our trainings and make sure that we execute it to the best of our ability.”
Today’s game is a big day for Lemi, as he will be playing where his career in rugby started, for the first time in a very long time.
“It’s always a humble experience for me to play in front of my country because I was born and raised here. It’s been a while since I last played here at Apia Park where my career started.
“It’s always an honor and privilege for me to play in front of our people. To serve God and our people it’s always a pleasure for me and I know it’s the same for the boys as well. And we will give it our 110% for the game today and make our country proud.”
As for who’s going to win the game today, Lemi said: “No one can foretell what will happen. It’s hard to tell who’s going to win. But like I said, we will just have to focus and stick to our game plan and make sure that we execute our game plan to the best of our ability and we will see what will happen.”