Manu coach Vaeluagaomatagi pumped for Wallabies challenge

Manu Samoa coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson can't wait to take on the Wallabies in their September 7th test match in Sydney which was announced this week.

He first heard the Rugby World Cup warm-up match was on the cards a couple of weeks ago having received an email from Samoa Rugby Union chief executive officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i.

“He said would we be interested, and within about two seconds I replied to him and said ‘yes please’.

“What an opportunity to go and play against Australia, in their backyard."

He said the Wallabies would be the best team he has ever coached against.

“Opportunities don’t come around very often for us.

“That’ll one, give us some confidence heading into Rugby world Cup, but two, to really balance us and see where we’re at.

“To make sure that we’re game-hardened heading into Rugby World Cup as well."

He said it was important to get a game against such a high calibre of opponent.

“The top teams like the All Blacks, and Ireland who are in our pool, ball in play is 10 minutes longer than what we actually have at the moment for our team."

Vaeluagaomatagi said that means fitness and conditioning are crucial.

“Seeing where we are at that point, against a team that’ll hold the ball for the same sort of periods of time."

He said they had been trying to find games before the World Cup, with another test in the pipeline against Tonga in Auckland on the 31st of August.

“We didn’t want to cram our calendar too much.

“Again we’ve just gotta be mindful, we want the players fresh at Rugby World Cup."

A Pacific tri-nations tournament with Fiji and Tonga with games at Apia Park had been mooted for around the same time period, but fell through.

“The cost of putting on that tournament was pretty extreme," Vaeluagaomatagi said.

“There was a whole bunch of things in the pipeline, and really it was about making sure we had some games heading into Rugby World Cup.

“Things have fallen into place perfectly for us to be honest, now that we’ve got this game against Australia."

He credited Faleomavaega and the Union for their work in pulling the Wallabies fixture together.

“I’m just a guy that fronts it all and coaches a team.

“These people in the rooms over here have done some great work to get us there."

He also thanked the players and previous coaches who got him this opportunity by qualifying Samoa for the World Cup.

Manu Samoa pre-Rugby World Cup fixtures:

  • 27th July vs Tonga (Pacific Nations Cup) at Apia Park
  • 3rd August vs USA (Pacific Nations Cup) at Suva, Fiji
  • 10th August vs Fiji (Pacific Nations Cup) at Suva, Fiji
  • Possible Tonga match in Auckland, 31st August
  • 7th September vs Australia at Sydney, Australia

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