Samoa coach eager to put on Twickenham show

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 19:50
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Samoa coach Titimaea Tafua hopes his side can produce a stirring display against England at Twickenham on Saturday as they bid to revive their fortunes both on and off the field.

The Pacific islanders have lost all six of their Tests this year and their woes have intensified while in Europe, with their home union declaring itself bankrupt.

While World Rugby hotly dispute claims that the Samoa Rugby Union is in fact insolvent, its dire financial position is summed up by the fact that their players will each receive somewhere around £600 as a match fee against England, compared to the hosts' £23 000 per man.

"With the financial situation at home, our government keeps giving us money to help us," Tafua said Friday. "Every year they give a large sum from their budget to help us."

As debate continues on the best way to fund Rugby Union in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga amid talk of a new Pacific Islands' Super Rugby franchise team, Tafua believes his players can provide a boost with an improved showing at Twickenham this weekend.  

"Our results are not that good so we are trying our best to get back there. We will struggle to get sponsors if the team is not good and performances are not good.

"If we perform well and get results then the sponsors will come. All we want is to do our job on the field and do it right so it will turn around the support, not only from the country and government."

Samoa have yet to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan and captain Chris Vui was well aware of the importance of Saturday's match. 

"This game is huge. We have only got this game before going into qualifying games next year," he said.

"We also need to increase that belief in our team. We have got these young players who are really keen and want to pull on that blue jersey and buy into what we are doing.

"We don't need superstars, we just need guys who can buy into what we are doing.

"Results are not coming our way at the moment but we are slowly stepping in the right direction towards those qualifying questions."

Agence France-Presse