At Yamagata, Manu Samoa fixes target on Russia

Manu Samoa coach, Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson, is a man on a mission.

After a week in Iwaki where the team engaged in lot of community activities, the Manu has been hard at work in Yamagata, counting down to their first Rugby World Cup game against Russia.

To be played on Tuesday night (Samoan time), Coach Vaeluagaomatagi said the players are focused on what they have to do.

 “There’ll be a different focus for us at training, getting into our game plans and things like that for the Russia game,” he said.

He said they aren’t looking any further ahead than that match, and has previously stated the Manu will be treating each match like a World Cup final.

 “We’re pretty focused just for Russia, and we know we’ve got a job to do there.”

Assistant Coach, Tuifaasisina Alistair Rogers said it’s a typical test week format heading into the World Cup opener.

 “We’ve gotta make sure that we get our game right first and foremost,” he said.

 “We have an idea of what Russia does, we’ve studied them quite extensively.”

Captain Jack Lam said it is a huge honour and privilege to be given the role to lead his country.

 “But I’m only one of many leaders in the team, who can at any one time be captain,” he said.

Lam said the leadership group all bounce ideas off each other.

 “It’s important that we’re all on the same page, just in case of injuries and whatnot, that any one of us can step up at any one time to be captain.”

The 31-year-old Lam, who is from the villages of Gataivai, Malie and Taga, is also playing for a club contract having been released by Bristol in May.

But the Manu skipper said his club future is not the focus at the moment, but he has been keeping in contact with his agent.

 “Made sure to tell him that obviously I’ve got a bigger role to play here, I’ve got my team here to focus on.”

Lam said the best thing he can do to earn a contract is to simply give his all for Manu Samoa, and hope the rest takes care of itself afterwards.

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