SPORTS

Samoa On A Mission

A star studded Samoan rugby team arrived in the country last night for the Pacific Nations Cup. Speaking to SUNsports, coach Dickie Tafua said this is one of their missions
04 Jun 2018 11:37
Samoa On A Mission
Manu Samoa rugby players (from left) T.J. Ioake, James Lay, Selala Lam, Chris Vui (captain), Jordan Lay, Puilu and Tosh Nielson at Nadi International Airport on June 3, 2018. They take on the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians in their Pacific Nations Cup opener on Saturday. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

A star studded Samoan rugby team arrived in the country last night for the Pacific Nations Cup.

Speaking to SUNsports, coach Dickie Tafua said this is one of their missions as they are chasing for a spot in next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He said their campaign starts on Saturday when they take on defending PNC champions Fiji Airways Flying Fijians at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

“We have our best players from around world here with us,” the no-nonsense coach said.

“These players know that this is a good opportunity for them to perform as we put a strong team together not only for the PNC but for our 2019 RWC qualifiers as well,” Tafua continued.

He indicated that they have brought in their strongest team in the PNC competition.

The side have got star players like flyhalf Tusi Pisi, Jack Lam, Puila Fuvala, Sinoti Sinoti and Loqovivi Mulipola. Most of these players are playing in Europe.

The Samoans like Tonga have been training in New Zealand before they flew over.

Tafua said winning the PNC would boost their  preparation for the 2019 RWC qualifiers.

“It is a great opportunity for us because as you know we have not qualified for the 2019 RWC and we will be using the PNC as part of our preparation for the qualifiers, which is in two weeks-time. We will wait till after the tournament.”

Meanwhile, the Tongan rugby side arrived late last night and among them was former Highlanders captain Nasi Manu.

The 29-year-old is one of six new caps in the team to contest the Pacific Nations Cup.

Manu told Radio New Zealand that he’s excited to get the chance to represent his family.

“My parents were born in Tonga and they obviously moved (to New Zealand) for better opportunities for us (kids),” he said.

“I obviously grew up in New Zealand and you always want to be an All Black, for most rugby boys, but for me it’s just a great opportunity to represent my family and it’s where my blood-line comes from.

“I’m just real proud to be part of the Tongan camp and it’s who I am so it’s great.”

 

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  peni.komaisavai@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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