anu Samoa Coach Steve Jackson and Team Manager Va’aelua Aloi Alesana talking to the media yesterday
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2019: Manu Samoa Head Coach Steve Jackson wants one thing in the Manu Samoa world cup team – and that is to put back a little bit of fear in the jersey.
“That people fear us when get on the field. You speak to a lot of people and we’ve lost that a little bit,” Jackson told the media yesterday outlining the coaching approach towards selecting the Manu Samoa seven months to the World Cup in Japan.
There has been a lot of talk about passion to play for Manu Samoa especially the known quality the team achieved in what is now a distant past.
“These are things we can’t coach as coaches. We can’t coach passion, we can’t coach hunger. We can give them the technical ability we can make them fitter but there are other things as well…who wants to die for the jersey. There’s one thing we want in this Manu Samoa team is to put a little bit of fear back in the jersey. That people fear us when get on the field.”
But it is always easier said than done. “So it’s finding a good balance between experienced players and some youth of guys who want to be there, because finding that will be half our problem.”
He has the Pacific Nations Cup and the in tri nations against Fiji and Tonga to try things out ahead of the rugby world cup.
World Cup Team Selection
At the moment, selection is on-going with about 70 odd players under the coaching staff’s watch. Everyone has an opportunity to put their hand up through the European cup, through super rugby, even players in Japan.
“So we’re casting our eyes wide and far and we will select the best 31 players that we feel will do the job at the rugby world cup. So again the reason why this massive amount of players we’ve put on a list that we will be monitoring.”
But Jackson said the players from last years’ northern hemisphere tour will likely make the bulk of the PNC team and the world cup team.
Again it will be a juggle on how many players he will field in the rugby world cup and opposed to the sort of team he will take to the PNC.
“Predominantly we would like most of the players named in the rugby World Cup squad that will be playing in the PNC so we can get some good conditioning as a lot of the teams are going to finish around June/July, and there’s a big break between then and the World Cup. So conditioning is going to be important for this group in order to compete in the next level.”
At the moment, selection is wide open. “There is scope until August/September to name our world cup team. But the idea is to have that named earlier than normal. So you’d see a team that comes to PNC, hopefully are the players that predominantly will play for the World Cup.”
In its World Cup Pool matches, Manu Samoa plays Russia 24 September, Scotland 30 September, Japan 5 October and Ireland 12 October.
Manu Samoa Manager, Va’aelua Aloi Alesana said the Manu Samoa World Cup squad plan to have a week long camp in Savaii on the first week of July then move to Apia in time for the match against Tonga at the end of July in the Pacific Nations Cup.