Vaeluagaomatagi keen to praise Scotland after Manu RWC loss

Manu head coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson has heaped praise on Scotland after they defeated Samoa 34-0 at Kobe Misaki Stadium on Tuesday morning Samoan time.

His team kept in touch for the first 30 minutes, before the Scots kicked on to a 20-0 lead at halftime.

“I think that was a very good Scotland side out there tonight, we’ve gotta give credit where credit’s due,” Vaeluagaomatagi said.

In the buildup to the match the coach had talked about how motivated his team were to play for Motu Matu’u and Rey Lee-Lo, who both picked up three-match bans during the week.

“You can be as motivated as you like, and they came out tonight and wanted it more, and they executed everything they did,” he said.

The may well be joined on the sidelines by winger Ed Fidow, who picked up two yellow cards and subsequently a red against Scotland, in addition to a warning for striking against Russia.

Both yellows were for illegal interventions to prevent tries (with penalty tries also given in each case), and Vaeluagaomatagi said he will have a good look at the incidents overnight:

“The first one, it’s a bit difficult… but again they were on their way to the tryline and so was the second one.”

He said they will have to see what happens with Fidow, but the depth of the squad is certainly being tested at the moment.

“There’s no point in dwelling on what we don’t have,” Vaeluagaomatagi said.

“We’ve just gotta move forward with what we’ve got and pick this group up.”

He said they were “really happy” with the defence at times, and it was unfortunate to let Scotland in late in the first half.

“We still went in at halftime believing that we could come back,” Vaeluagaomatagi said.

It was the first time Samoa have been held to nil in a Rugby World Cup game, which was brought to the coach’s attention during the post-match press conference.

“I didn’t realise that, thanks for that,” Vaeluagaomatagi said.

He said the pride of his team has obviously been hurt by the result:

“It’s our job as a coaching group and a management group to get them up.

“They’re hurting, and so they should.”

Vaeluagaomatagi thought a big part of his sides poor execution on the night was Scotland’s good defence:

“They got off the line, they made their tackles and they disrupted our ball.”

It doesn’t get any easier, with hosts Japan the next opponents for Samoa in less than five days time.

“There’s things we’re going to do against Japan we’ve trained for, but it’s really important to mentally freshen our players up this week,” Vaeluagaomatagi said.

“We don’t need to be out on a rugby field, in the gym doing too much.”

Despite the loss, the coach thinks his team are still in the World Cup fight, and questions whether the difficulty will increase for Samoa’s games against Japan and Ireland:

“There was a lot of talk around Scotland this week and how difficult this game was gonna be.

“We’re one win from two games, both Scotland and Ireland are exactly the same.”

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