Touch World Cup lessons will assist Pacific Games campaign
While Samoa performed below expectations at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia, Samoa Touch Rugby Incorporated (S.T.R.I.) are taking the positives from the campaign into their Pacific Games preparations.
The Open Mix side finished fourth of 22 countries at the World Cup, while the Open Mens and Womens teams finished ninth and 12th out of 17 countries in each of their divisions.
“Overall for us, given the development of the sport across the world it was a big achievement in the sense that we came out on top of the majority of European countries, some Asian countries and also the Pacific," said S.T.R.I. President Mailata Michael Wulf.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge, because our men’s and women’s were in tough pools."
He said getting experience at the tournament was a big plus, and each Samoan team's wins over Pacific opponents Fiji and Papua New Guinea are good signs heading into the Pacific Games in July.
“As we said going into the World Cup, this for our players hopefully exposes them to that level, and hopefully we can come back to P.G. and win those gold medals.
Mailata said there are a lot of lessons they can take from the World Cup.
“It’s an opportunity for them to look at what needs to be fixed, what players are suitable for each position and all that.
“Definitely we have a lot of work to do going into Pacific Games."
Samoa Touch want gold in men's, women's and mixed touch at the Games, something which has never been done before.
The players will now have two weeks off from formal training, before they get back into it with the final Pacific Games teams set to be picked by mid-June.
The mixed team will be selected out of the final 14 picked for each of the men's and women's teams.
Mailata said their aim was to take most of the players that will be selected for the Pacific Games to the World Cup, but the selection process for the three teams starts over again.
“Just a few tweaks, we had players who weren’t available for the World Cup but are willing to play Pacific Games, so exploring all those options and having the best team for Samoa to win those gold medals."
He said they couldn't have gone to the World Cup without the support of their sponsors, and everyone who got them to Malaysia.
“I hope that we’ve done our country proud.
“Hopefully [at the Pacific Games] we’ll make our country proud again."