Manu Samoa keen to turn things around against red hot hosts Japan
The Manu Samoa are seeing their upcoming match against Japan as a massive opportunity to get their World Cup back on track against a tough opponent.
With a win and a loss from their opening two fixtures, Samoa are clear underdogs against the tournament hosts, who are currently eighth in the World Rugby rankings – an all-time high.
Manu assistant coach Tuifaasisina Alistair Rogers said Japan are very well coached by Jamie Joseph, and have threats all over the park.
“I think across the whole team they’ve got dangerous players,” he said.
“Their tight five work really well, their work rate is very good.
“And their confidence is high at the moment, and so it should be.”
Japan scored the upset of the tournament so far in their previous match, defeating heavyweights Ireland 19-12 last Saturday.
Tuifaasisina said they played very well, but it all presents big opportunity for Samoa to succeed against high-level opposition.
He said Japan have some good ball-carriers in midfield, and very fast wingers:
“They’re on top of their game at the moment.
“We know they wanna play a fast game, because they’ve got a good skillset and hold onto the ball for long periods of time.”
But he said the Manu know what they’re good at too, and will also want to play fast.
“We just need everyone to be on their game,” he said.
The Manu lost 34-0 to Scotland in their last outing, and Tuifaasisina said they knew the Scots would bring their A-game having lost their tournament opener:
“We struggled to cope with the go-forward of their tight five.
“We need to lick our wounds, take the lessons and look forward to the big opportunity that we have.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the Manu, with kickoff against Japan at 12:30 am on Saturday night/Sunday morning Samoan time.
Tuifaasisina said that’s an opportunity itself, and the main thing in the short buildup to the game is recovery for the players:
“The key for us is to keep things really simple, and make sure that the messages are really clear.”