Tuifa'asisina draws on All Blacks World Cup wins to help Manu
Two-time World Cup winner Tuifaasisina Alistair Rogers said there are some similarities but a lot of differences between Samoa’s campaign and his two triumphs with the All Blacks.
The Manu Samoa Assistant Coach is in Japan for his third tournament, having been a video analyst for New Zealand in 2011 and 2015.
“It’s quite a unique team as far as our culture goes, but it’s really really enjoyable,” said Tuifaasisina
“There’s a lot of great history around the team, and a culture that goes with that, which was very similar with the All Blacks.”
He said his past experiences will help, but every World Cup is different:
“This is a different team, a different group.
“If they want to have a talk about it, that’s cool, then I’ll have a chat to them individually about things that I’ve experienced and learned.”
But Tuifaasisina said four years is a long time in rugby, so it will be about dripfeeding those nuggets of knowledge in as needed:
“The game moves pretty quickly.
“What I’ve learnt over the last two World Cups, whilst I can take that experience it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll fit for this group.”
Tuifaasisina was on standby for the All Blacks’ disastrous 2007 World Cup, and said being part of the 2011 campaign was special.
“You kinda knew what the coaching group went through, and you saw how much it meant to a lot of people, “ he said
“The methods they used to try and build the team again, it was a massive learning curve for them.”
The 2007 New Zealand coaching group of Sir Graham Henry, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen was retained, somewhat controversially, for the 2011 World Cup cycle.
Tuifaasisina said the reappointment of the trio was really good, as everyone was clear on what they need to do.
So would he like the long-term backing to coach Samoa with Vaeluaga Steve Jackson, with both their contracts up after Japan 2019?
“If you’re gonna build anything, it does take a bit of time, and between those World Cup cycles it is important,” Tuifaasisina said.
He said that decision is up to the Samoa Rugby Union, but in his experience consistency is key to success.
Another important factor is time together as a group, and a World Cup campaign provides Manu Samoa with a rare opportunity to come together as a time for months rather than weeks.
But Tuifaasisina noted that even in their expanded time together this year, the Manu have only played five matches to date in 2019.
“I think that’s where hopefully in time, we can have more exposure to Tier One and more games,” he said.
“We’ve got guys that have been to two World Cups, but only have 20-something caps.
“There’s a massive difference between that and Tier One.”