It was a tough loss for the Manu Samoa on Saturday as they went down to the Flying Fijians in the build up to the Rugby World Cup but according to the head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua this is the learning process before they reach France.
Manu Samoa head back to the training pitch and are preparing to face Tonga who they will face this weekend at Apia Park.
Vaovasamanaia said the loss does not mean that Manu Samoa deviated from the plan they have for the Rugby World Cup.
“We are going to stick to the plan. We have had a plan around this whole campaign and by the end of it we get answers to our plans,” he said.
“We also know the threat of this Tongan team that is coming and we will plan accordingly.
“We have to stay on this plan because you have to understand that there is a bigger picture. Our performance really needs to improve if we are to really keep moving forward.”
The loss over the weekend will dent the Manu Samoa’s ranking and they are likely to move out of the top 10.
To ensure that they do not fall any further, Manu Samoa has to ensure a win against the Tongans.
Vaovasamanaia said it was time to move forward but at the same time they have to keep in mind where they went wrong and improve on it.
“There is nothing such as an easy loss, they are all tough. We always take more from a loss than from a win. The key for us now is that we take in the lessons,” he said.
Meanwhile, a late Kotaro Matsushima try-saving tackle highlighted a big defensive effort by Japan to hold off Tonga 21-16 at Hanazono Rugby Stadium on Saturday and retain a slim chance of winning the Pacific Nations Cup.
Tonga dominated possession and territory and forced Japan to make more than twice as many tackles. But Japan outscored Tonga three tries to two and led for the last 50 minutes. The scoreline remained close in part due to Japan missing four goalkicks out of six.
Following its first win in more than a year, Japan hosts unbeaten title favorite Fiji in Tokyo this weekend in the third and last round of the cup.
Winger Jone Naikabula’s try and set-up for lock Amato Fakatava propped up Japan’s 13-5 lead at halftime.
Captain Sonatane Takulua dotted down for Tonga, then William Havili’s penalties put them within two points.
A try by wing Semisi Masirewa extended Japan’s lead but Tonga closed in again after hooker Samiuela Moli’s try from a lineout.
Replacement flyhalf Rikiya Matsuda’s penalty then gave Japan some breathing room.
The Tongans arrive this week in Apia after their 21-16 loss to Japan on Saturday. Just like Samoa, the Ikale Tahi also have players who have been internationals for the Wallabies and All Blacks.
Malakai Fekitoa, Sam Lousi, Augustine Pulu, Israel Folau and Charles Piutau are just of the names that the Tongan coach Toutai Kefu has at his disposal.
The Manu Samoa and Tonga clash is set for this Saturday at Apia Park.
SOURCE: SAMOA OBSERVER/AP/PACNEWS