Samoa desperate to survive

Samoan coach Michael Jones has labelled Saturday’s World Cup Pool A showdown between Samoa and England is a battle of “two desperate teams”.

Samoa are clinging on to their quarter-final hopes from after losing their opening games against South Africa and Tonga.

Defeat in Nantes on Saturday would effectively send them crashing out of the tournament, and their cause has not been helped by further injury problems which has ruled out reserve prop Muliufi Salanoa and could possibly sideline fullback Gavin Williams.

England, unconvincing when they beat the United States before being losing to South Africa, also urgently need points to revive play-off hopes.

Jones knows the stakes could hardly be higher as his players look to avenge their pool defeat against England in Melbourne four years ago.

“I can promise you, you will see a totally different Manu [Samoa] team out there on Saturday,” he said.

“We are two desperate teams, playing for the honour and the glory of our countries.

“I don’t see them [England] playing like they did against South Africa . They will be jumping out of their skins. They are just as desperate as us.

“We still totally believe in the potential of this team. We just haven’t really fronted-up.

“There is no tomorrow for us. Hopefully, we will pick up another bonus point [against England].

“We are definitely taking the most difficult route to the quarter-finals, but sometimes the most difficult route is the best.”

Samoa’s 15-19 loss to Tonga in Montpellier last weekend left a mark on Jones and the Samoan squad, given they went into battle as firm favourites.

“They [Tonga] fronted up and played with all their passion,” Jones said.

“That is the hurtful thing – they did to us what we’ve done to them for the last six years. That’s what is really hard. We are really disappointed and we’ve done a lot of soul searching.

“It is hard to keep motivated. But for our boys, we do things the Samoan way.

“We don’t try to gloss over things, we do what our parents would have done. We speak a few home truths, but we do it with love. It’s a tough-love approach.

“I purposely haven’t read any newspapers, but it won’t have gone down well. We let ourselves down and let our country down.

“I would have rather lost to them for the last six years and won this one, because this is the one that counts.

“But it will be business as usual. The boys are very committed to fulfilling our dream. Things can still go our way.”

Meanwhile goal-kicker Williams might have suffered a fractured hand, while reserve prop Muliufi Salanoa has damaged a knee cartilage and is definitely out.

“Gavin could be out. He is getting tests done on a possible fracture to his hand.

“With Salanoa out, it brings our total of injured players to eight.”

As it is prop forward Fosi Pala’amo was called into the Samoan World Cup squad.

The large number of injuries sustained by the Manu Samoa has seen him fly out to France to join his fellow countrymen in their preparations for Saturday’s crucial match against England.

 

365 Digital

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