Samoa Prime Minister, Fiamē Naomi Mata’afa and Education Minister, Seuula Ioane Tuaau joined the Manu Samoa team on Monday in a service (faigalotu) at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
The Manu Samoa Rugby World Cup (RWC) squad will be travelling out of Samoa for the RWC in France.
In the lead-up to the RWC in France in September, they will play Japan (22 July), Fiji (29 July), Tonga (5 August) and Ireland (26 August).
The Prime Minister conveyed her best wishes to the Manu Samoa squad and wished them a successful campaign for the upcoming RWC from 8 September to 28 October 2023.
“I wish you all the best and pray for your safety, first and foremost, and may you have a successful campaign. Win or lose, you are our team,” Fiamē said. “Sports are very important to the development of a country, and of course, The Manu fits significantly into the profile of sports.
“I’m sure I don’t need to tell you where rugby is at, where The Manu is at, but that is our joint endeavour is to build sports in general and also rugby which is a reflection sport for Samoa.”
Samoa’s Minister for Education, Sports and Culture, Seuula Ioane Tuaau accompanied the Prime Minister during her meeting with The Manu RWC squad.
Samoa is in Pool D of the RWC in France with England, Japan, Argentina and Chile. Their first match is on 17 September against Chile, followed by Argentina six days later on 23 September, and then Japan six days later on 29 September followed by England on 8 October to round up their pool matches.
Manu Samoa head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua believes the current squad has what it takes to win the Rugby World Cup and is optimistic about their chances.
In an interview with Radio New Zealand last week, Vaovasamanaia said their upcoming match against Japan on 22 July will give an indication of where the team is in terms of their preparations for the RWC.
He said they have a strong squad that also included a former Australian Wallaby and four former All Blacks. They include Christian Leali’ifano from Moana Pasifika and former Wallaby fly-half, as well as Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and Lima Sopoaga.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS