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Pride in jersey, country motivates Manu Samoa for Ireland clash

The Manu Samoa are ready to make a statement in the last game of their Rugby World Cup on Saturday night local time in Fukuoka.

They will take on Ireland at 12:45am Samoan time, with no chance of making the quarterfinals out of Pool A, but captain Jack Lam said there is still a lot to play for.

“I guess for us as players we still have pride in the jersey,” he said.

“We still have a lot to play for in terms of qualifying for the next World Cup and for the future of rugby in Samoa.”

The 31-year-old said the mood in the Manu camp remains bright:

“We've been together for about eight weeks o it has pretty much been our family for the last two months.

“We have had our ups and downs as any family would but we have managed to problem-solve everything within our family and we're still tight.”

Reserve tighthead prop Paul Alo-Emile said that time together and the bond in the group has been the highlight of the tournament:

“We love our music and we love being together, going back to our Samoan roots and understanding our culture, especially for myself. 

“The Japanese people have been amazing as well, very friendly and it makes our job easier."

Perhaps the Manu’s best scrummager, Alo-Emile said he’s expecting a huge challenge at the setpieces against Ireland.

“They’re one of the stronger scrums in the world, they pride themselves on their setpiece,” he said.

“As a team it’s good to prepare ourselves for some of the top scrums in the world, to be able to be up there with them and challenge them.”

The 27-year-old plays his club rugby at Stade Francais in Paris, who had a pair of Irishmen in their coaching staff last season in Mike Prendergast and former international lock Paul O’Connell.

Alo-Emile said playing under them helped his career massively:

“I'm here with Samoa but it was a huge honour playing under those guys. 

“Paul O'Connell has great knowledge obviously, his experience in rugby, but I really enjoyed everything he taught me but also him as a person, he is a great, great man. 

“Mike is as well, both of those guys are very level-headed and really helped me."

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