Tyrell's World Cup second chance a 'blessing'

Having missed out on selection for the Pacific Nations Cup, Manu Samoa loose forward Josh Tyrell had to work hard to get to Japan for the Rugby World Cup.

The 28-year-old said he was given some issues to work on by the coaches, and his French club Oyonnax helped him get back into the mix and earn selection.

“I was a bit gutted there [to miss the Pacific Nations Cup], but I was really blessed with an opportunity to come into the World Cup squad,” Tyrell said.

“I guess it’s an opportunity for me to kind of stamp a mark, there’s a lot of good competition out there in regards to the back row, so just hoping to get some game time out on the pitch.”

The Manu are blessed with strong depth in the loose forwards, however the absence of Chris Vui and Piula Fa’asalele through illness and injury for Samoa’s two warm-up games gave Tyrell a chance to start with an extended run off the bench against the New Zealand Heartland XV and Australia.

Tyrell, who is from the villages of Faleasiu, Nuusuatia, Lufilufi and Salelologa, said those two players he is essentially competing with for a spot in the match day squad are both great guys:

“It’s healthy competition, so guys really wanna make you get better.

“We have a common goal, we wanna make history in this Rugby World Cup.”

Tyrell has already made history with a couple members of the squad.

He and hooker Ray Niuia were part of the first North Harbour team to win a New Zealand provincial title since 1987 back in 2016; and that team was captained by Chris Vui and coached by Vaeluaga Steve Jackson.

“Probably one of the best cultures that I’ve been in my whole rugby career,” said Tyrell.

“Everyone played for each other, it felt like an actual team, a brotherhood.”

He said coach ‘Jacko’ is bringing that feel to his Manu side as well.

“As you can see everyone’s joking around, sometimes [there are] slight digs but it’s alright.”

Tyrell left North Harbour to play for Doncaster in England, and in January 2019 signed a two year contract with Oyonnax, finishing his first season in France in May.

“The language barrier’s a bit tough, but getting there,” he said.

Along with the rest of the Manu, he is loving being in Japan for the Rugby World Cup.

“I can’t explain how awesome the people have been here,” Tyrell said.

“Just coming out of our hotel, everyone’s really bubbly and alive, and just wanted to be around.

“The boys just need to watch out, I think we’re eating too many pork ramens, and gyoza and that, so we need to just simmer down on that a bit,” he laughed.

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