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Chris Vui keeping his eyes on Japan after illness miss

Missing the chance to play in one of his team’s biggest moments since he earned his first test cap in 2016 has left Manu Samoa flanker Chris Vui feeling gutted. 

The 26-year-old is still recovering from the nasty flu that caused him to miss last week’s game against the New Zealand Heartland XV as well.

He said being a non-starter for Saturday night’s Wallabies test - a rare match against Tier One opposition at the brilliant setting of the new Bankwest Stadium in Sydney stung acutelu. 

“I’m really gutted, but hey it’s a part of the process,” Vui said.

When asked if his absence meant other players had the chance to jump over him into the first-string side for the Rugby World Cup, he said there is a chance of the current number-one in each position losing their place every week:

“I think you’ve always gotta be on edge…, you can’t get comfortable.”

Vui, whose roots are in Lano, Sa’asa’ai and Foaluga said that means staying on point physically, as well as with nutrition.

Two new caps in the clash against the Wallabies were new caps Michael Alaalatoa and Scott Malolua, and Vui said they have added plenty since coming into camp:

“They seem quiet, but when you’re outside of rugby, they’re actually livewires.”

The pair both grew up in Australia, and Vui said it’s huge for them to be playing their debut test matches against the Wallabies:

“They’ll be really excited to see their family come out and watch them.”

Alaalatoa and Malolua are among a few players heading to the Rugby World Cup that missed the Pacific Nations Cup campaign in July and August, along with Tusiata Pisi and Tim Nanai-Williams.

Vui said those two veterans bring an understanding to the team that can’t be coached.

“Tusi and Tim, they’re bringing that winning experience, all that knowledge from past games.”

A recent Manu captain, Vui is a leader in the team as well, despite the fact 2019 will be his first Rugby World Cup.

“I’ve been in the team for quite some time now, but it always feels new when you put that blue jersey on,” he said.

“It was always a dream and to say that I’m going to the World Cup, that’s the highest of all honours.”

Vui said every match in Japan will be tough, so they need to be on the money the whole tournament:

“We haven’t really looked too far, Russia’s the first game and we’ll target each game as it comes.

“We’ll go in with an underdog mindset, but have that confidence to beat any team.”

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