London Irish pair backing Manu lineout to come right

Despite trouble at lineout-time against the Wallabies in their previous match, Manu Samoa’s tight forwards insist they don’t need to overhaul their setpiece heading into Rugby World Cup.

On September 7th at Bankwest Stadium, Australia won 16 lineouts to Samoa’s nine, including six from a Manu throw.

But lock Teofilo Paulo said the struggles aren’t anything major:

“It’s probably just our own little mistakes, just not reading the defence properly.

“We’re not going to go and reinvent the wheel, just little tweaks, and bringing some new calls in to adapt to who we’re playing and stuff.”

That blip in Sydney aside, the 32-year-old Paulo has formed an effective locking partnership with Kane Le’aupepe, with the pair almost ever-present in the team since Le’aupepe’s debut on the 2018 November tour.

“It’s awesome playing with Kane, he’s fit and he picks up the slack when I’m a bit tired,” said Paulo.

But the London Irish lock from the villages of Solosolo, Safune, Matatufu, Faleapuna, Saleaumua downplayed the idea that he and Le’aupepe are first-choice:

“I don’t think we’re solidified, otherwise we’ll get too comfortable and lose our focus.”

Paulo’s club teammate, hooker Motu Matu’u said Australia are one of the top sides in the world.

“For them to take our lineout apart, it’s still a work-on for us,” he said.

“Going ahead to Russia, we’ll be looking at ways we can implement a plan which can actually work for us.”

The Manu did give the Wallabies plenty of trouble at scrumtime, which continues a trend from the Pacific Nations Cup.

“That’s been kind of like a secret weapon of ours for a while now,” said Matu’u.

“We’ve got some pretty big boys in the front row, and also in the back rows as well.

“If we keep it up for this tournament we’ll be heading in the right direction.”

Matu’u, who is from the villages of Fasitoo-uta, Falelatai and Manono, also said Japan has been an unreal experience so far:

“The weather’s been great, the people have been unbelievable, and the food’s just been even better.”

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