Captain Fantastic leading charge for Manu Sina
The Manu Sina are making the most of what captain Sui Pauaraisa of Foailalo calls an “amazing opportunity”.
She has lead a squad with almost no international experience to two wins from two at the Oceania Rugby Womens 15s Championship in Fiji.
“It’s unreal, we’re all just so glad Manu Sina is back,” Pauaraisa said.
Prior to the tournament the Samoan national women’s rugby team had not played since the 2014 World Cup.
After surviving a tricky Papua New Guinea side in their first game at the Oceania Championship, the Manu Sina unleashed their full attacking potential on Tonga yesterday, winning 68-7.
Pauaraisa said it was difficult adjusting to the heat in Fiji.
“The first game was also our first time together.
“We knew Tonga would be tough but really clicked against them, being more used to the conditions and each other.”
Manu Sina will play the other unbeaten side, tournament hosts Fiji in the title decider on Saturday at 4:30pm Samoan time.
Pauaraisa said that will be a massive challenge.
“Being the hosts, they’ve been in camp together longer.
“We need to work on our defence, make sure we complete those first tackles, and don’t give them space out wide.”
As captain, Pauaraisa knows she has a responsibility to be a great leader for Manu Sina.
“The girls are looking up to me, so there’s pressure with that.
“Especially since it’s my first time too, not knowing the girls at first.”
Leading by example, Sui Pauaraisa has been a standout on the openside flank so far at the Championship.
“In terms of my game, nothing changes when I’m the captain,” she said.
Pauaraisa has also represented the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns national rugby league side, and played for the Warriors in the inaugural WNRL this year.
But she said apart from the little adjustments each code is still rugby at its heart.
“It’s mostly mental switching between sports.
“But I know now what to expect when I come back into league or rugby.”
A Samoa 7s representative as well, the New Zealand-based Pauaraisa was disappointed to hear the team for the recent Oceania 7s would be made up of local Samoan players.
“But then the 15s opportunity opened up and I grabbed it,” she said.
“We thank all the supporters at home, the whole of Samoa is behind us.”