Sititi: ‘We can beat the Boks’

The Samoans are convinced they have what it takes to beat South Africa when the two teams meet in a World Cup pool match in Paris in September, despite going down 8-35 in their one-off international in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Both captain Semi Sititi and coach Michael Jones made mention of the fact that the Samoans are convinced they can beat the big guns of the world, despite being in a “rebuilding phase” with their young Samoan team.

Sititi said he was “very pleased” with the performance at Ellis Park, in which the Boks outscored the Samoans by five tries to one.

“Even though we lost, it showed we can beat the big teams,” Sititi said.

“We respect South Africa and want to thank them for putting up this test to help us with our preparation towards the World Cup,” he said, adding a “baie dankie” (thanking the crowd in Afrikaans).

“We’ve got some things that we really need to work on – like our set pieces and especially our scrums.

“However, we still have time before the World Cup to work on them.”

Sititi said poor discipline cost his team dearly – having had to play with 14 men for 20 minutes, after scrum-half Steven So’oialo (repeated infringements, hands in at ruck) and prop Justin Va’a (repeated infringements, dropping the scrum) were yellow carded in the first half.

“We lost a bit with our discipline, but the boys put in a big effort and played to the best of their ability.”

He also spoke of the “youngsters in the backline” that put up a big display, but added that the forwards simply did not provide them with a platform.

Jones said he was “really proud” of his “warriors” who really took it to the Springboks.

“We were never going to come here just to make up the numbers,” Jones said.

“We really wanted to make it a wonderful spectacle for the crowd.

“We’ve still lots to improve. We’re shaping a new team and we’ve got a long way to go, but we’ll only get better.

“We’ve got to acknowledge South African rugby and the support we’ve had, we’ve been spoilt. This has been an awesome experience and we’ll never forget it,” he echoed his captain’s sentiments.

But it is the many positives his team can take out of the game, looking ahead to the World Cup, that really excited Jones.

“We’re on track [for the World Cup]. Yes, we’ve got a long way to go yet, but we’ve got another three months [before the World Cup].

“We’ll get better, because this is a fast learning team and a joy to coach and we’re looking forward to the journey ahead.”

He also spoke of his team’s willingness to “attack” the South Africans as a big positive.

“We love to attack and we’re gifted athletes. We love to run with ball in hand, especially our big guys. [Prop forward] Census Johnston ran his heart out.

“We’ve got a lot of positive to take from this. Yes, we’ve got to work on some key areas of our play.

“We’re trying to beat the best teams, teams like South Africa and we think we can do that. I think we showed that today,” Jones added.


365 Digital

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