Captain Nina ready to lead Manusina

Manusina captain Nina Foaese is raring to go for Samoa's crucial Rugby World Cup qualifier against Fiji on Saturday evening in Lautoka.

The 31-year-old number eight missed out on her side's last run (a 27-5 loss to Australia A on Tuesday) as she recovered from a knock to the eye suffered in the previous match against Fiji last Friday.

“It’s come down a lot, the stitches have dissolved. The bruising’s still there, but the swelling’s come down a lot," Foaese said.

“Really, really amped to take the field again."

With the injury occurring in the opening ten minutes of the match, Foaese had to leave the game and look on from the sidelines as her Manusina went down to the Fijiana in round two of the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship.

She said it was hard to watch on from afar as the girls lost their second game of three to Fiji in the last 13 months.

“It’s always tough against our Pacific foes, Fijiana is a tough team," Foaese said.

But the skipper thinks her side are getting better and stronger with each game they play.

“It’s moreso just getting used to the heat," the Wellington, New Zealand native whose roots are in Vailoa Faleata said.

Foaese said that's about mental toughness, just like where she said the match will be won and lost against Fiji:

“I reckon it’s physicality against them, just to get up and show how strong we are.

“One-on-one tackles, hitting them hard, shutting them down really, and executing our one percenters."

Foaese represents Wellington in New Zealand's Farah Palmer Cup, the city where she was born and raised.

“Lived in Melbourne for seven years and just moved back last year," she said.

“We don’t really have much family in Aussie so moved back home."

Three children (aged two, five and ten) keep the stay-at-home-mum busy, but she said she is able to train around getting her kids to school and their sporting commitments.

Foaese and her Manusina will face Fiji at Churchill Park in Lautoka, Fiji in the Oceania Rugby World Cup qualifier, which kicks off at 5pm Samoan time on Saturday.

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