Tuala happy to play part in improving Manu attack

Manu Samoa outside back, Ahsee Tuala, puts his side’s attacking improvement over the back end of their Rugby World Cup buildup down to having more time together.

After stuttering during the Pacific Nations Cup with just four tries in three games, the Manu were able to cut loose for six tries against the New Zealand Heartland XV then two against a strong Wallabies outfit.

Tuala said it has taken some time for the team to adjust to the new things they want to bring into their game:

“Getting more licence to play what’s in front, the boys are getting a bit more confident and throwing that ball around.

“Not blindly, but being able to look at what’s in front of us and play a bit of footy.”

The uptick has also coincided with the return to the squad of Tusi Pisi, Ed Fidow and Tim Nanai-Williams, who have all come straight into the backline.

Tuala (30) played five seasons with Nanai-Williams at Counties-Manukau, and he welcomed his old friend’s presence in the team.

“He brings a whole heap of experience, what he’s done with other teams and stuff,” the Northampton fullback said.

“He brings a lot of leadership, and especially with our attack, he’s got good ideas.”

Another man with some good ideas about attacking rugby is Manu Samoa backs technical advisor Chris Latham, who scored 40 tries over nine years representing the Wallabies.

“He’s done it all, he’s got so much experience under his belt,” said Tuala, who is from the villages of Leauvaa and Gataivai.

“To have him in the team, and to have him help us, especially in the backs and the back three, it’s been awesome, and the boys are just trying to absorb as much as they can from him.”

Tuala started at fullback throughout the Pacific Nations Cup, before seeing gametime on the wing against the Heartland XV and the Wallabies.

He said he doesn’t have a preference between the positions:

“I’m not too fussed to be honest, just happy to be out there giving my best for the boys and the country.

“Whenever I get an opportunity I just make the most of it.”

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