Samoa men’s touch loses to Cook Islands

Samoa’s men touch team lost their first game of the day against the Cook Islands 8-6, after a slow start that left them three points behind at half time.

Despite a strong start on Monday winning against Fiji and Tokelau, the team struggled against the Cook Islanders.

They face off against Tonga at 11:50am and the Solomon Islands at 1:10pm, two crucial games that could see them in the running for a spot in the semi-finals.

Coach Peter Shefford said he needs the team to believe in the game plan they trained for.

“If we trust what we said we are going to do which is what we did in the second half, that it will work for us,” he said.

“We actually won the second half even with the intercept on the last throw and we still won the second half.”

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It was a game of two halves, the coach said, just like their match against Fiji yesterday. The team need to play the long game, over 40 minutes and not 20, he said.

“We didn’t start this morning well and I am not sure why because Fiji should have been a wake-up call, [what happens] if you don’t perform for 40 minutes.

“The next two games today are very crucial in terms of where we finish on the ladder, and playing fourth or third in the semis, which could be massive in terms of going for the gold.”

Captain Michael Rasmussen and player Peter Hazelman are out injured which means less substitution for the team in the next two games. 

Those two crucial games are against two quite different sides. Shefford said Tonga is strong on defence, but beatable, while the Solomon Islands are similar to Fiji and don’t have much structure to their play.

“We have got to do what we have got to do four 40 minutes,” he said.

“The whole idea is to build to tomorrow, unfortunately we play Papua New Guinea tomorrow and hopefully make it to the finals which is a shame draw wise.”

Papua New Guinea won gold in the 2015 Pacific Games and are the favourite to win this year.

The women’s side also play against Tonga at 11:50 on the second field, so come for a Tonga vs Samoa extravaganza at St Josephs’ College in Alafua.

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