Manusina and Tonga clash confirmed for Auckland
The Manusina and Tonga are set to clash for the World Cup Repechage Qualifier at Trusts Arena, Waitakere Auckland, New Zealand, on Saturday 14 November 2020.
Oceania Rugby General Manager, Bruce Cook, confirmed this, saying they are grateful to the New Zealand Rugby Union for making the clash happen.
"We are grateful to the New Zealand Rugby Union is hosting the much-anticipated qualification match for Tonga and Samoa, and we are looking forward to a great game," said Cook.
"It should be an exciting feature as both teams are very determined to make it through the next round of Rugby World Cup qualification."
The winner will qualify for the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup Repechage Tournament. The date is yet to be confirmed.
The Oceania Competitions Manager, Wayne Schuster, says that the organization is looking forward to work with New Zealand Rugby in facilitating the key match which has been greatly anticipated by both unions.
The match is part of a women's rugby triple-header match-day which includes NZ Defence Forces and Police New Zealand Black Ferns and Barbarians fixtures.
In recent interviews with the two coaches with the RNZ Pacific, the two coaches spoke on their preparations for the upcoming match, both teams are looking forward to their clash and are aiming to bring their "A-game" for this match.
"Out of all our Pacific [contenders], Samoa and Fiji, we're the newbies because we've only been in this game for a little while so this is definitely a big thing for Tonga... it's a milestone," says Sione Pulu, the Tongan XV assistant coach.
"I think we're still lucky it's going ahead," he said. "[The girls] are excited because back in March we were in lockdown and then it happened again, but everybody's pretty excited to prep for this one. We haven't been in the playing system for too long but getting to this point has been something worth celebrating," he added.
However, Manusina XV coach, Ramsey Tomokino, is a bit disappointed because the overseas-based players won't be able to play.
"Obviously COVID-19 has affected the ability to play some games earlier in the Oceania competition but we've just got to move forward with what's on the horizon," says Mr Tomokino.
"It's just unfortunate with the borders that we're not able to bring in any of our Samoa and Australia-based players. We've got quite an extensive list of names from past, current,and also potential future players... and so we've got players that are itching to put on the blue jersey and want to take that opportunity. We've database a lot of the Samoan players that expressed interest, are playing Farah Palmer Cup or are playing rugby league and other sports as well," he added.
Tomokino says that it is a must-win match for Samoa. They played Tonga last time in Oceania and they defeated them but they are expecting a tough opponent as he believes there are probably quality Tongan players residing in New Zealand.
"We already know how we want to play them and our training is going to be working towards that but we need to win the match and we need to be in the World Cup," says Tomokino.
The Tongans are also expecting a tough game with the Manusina and they have their work cut out for them.
"We're expecting a really big game. Manusina has been here before more times than we have, and we look at Manusina as being a worthy opponent for us. Being our Pacific sisters, they will definitely be ready for us so we've got to bring our best game," said Pulu.