The hangover of the victory against Japan is now over and the Manu Samoa players are under no illusion of the challenge ahead of them this Saturday at Apia Park.
The focus has shifted to the Flying Fijians and head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua knows that this will be one of their toughest games yet.
Samoa nipped Fiji 23-20 in July last year when the two teams met in the Pacific Nations Cup.
“The Flying Fijians are very impressive and they are very strong. We are under no illusion of what’s coming to our shores as they’ve proven in the last game against a very strong Ikale Tahi side,” said Vaovasamanaia.
“They have star players who are playing in Europe and they will be joined by the Fijian Drua players. So yes, we are expecting a tough encounter.”
Vaovasamanaia is hoping that Manu Samoa fans are able to provide the sixteenth player this Saturday at Apia Park and has urged them to fill the stands as this is Manu Samoa’s first home game in four years.
He also told the Samoa Observer that the squad needs as many matches as possible to ensure that there was understanding between players.
He said this would allow the Manu Samoa players to get their combinations right and allow him to pick the best players possible for the Rugby World Cup.
After Fiji, Manu Samoa faces Tonga, then head to France where they face the Barbarians and then the number one ranked team in the world, Ireland.
Despite many being skeptical about Manu Samoa’s narrow 24-22 win over Japan with some saying that the team got lucky after a red card was shown to the Japanese number eight Michael Leitch, Vaovasamanaia said the laws of the games are there for the reason.
“I feel we played well and we came out on top. The rules of the game are there for a reason. I don’t make them, this applies to all players,” he said.
“The game against Japan was our very first as a team and it allowed us to learn a few things which we need to work on and those areas will be addressed.”
Christian Lealiifano, who was on debut against Japan was instrumental in the win as his experience and decision making showed on the pitch. The coach is hoping that with him in the team, his decision making skills can rub off on to other players.
Vaovasamanaia has also hinted at a changed squad for the match against Fiji on Saturday.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/PACNEWS