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Samoa are 'so proud' of Fiji and their World Cup heroics

By Ian Cameron
Jonathan Taumateine of Samoa looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Argentina and Samoa at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on September 22, 2023 in Saint-Etienne, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Manu Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua has said that he ‘so proud’ of what Pacific island neighbours Fiji are doing at the Rugby World Cup.

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Samoa slipped to a narrow 19-10 loss to Argentina last night in Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in St-Etienne in Pool D, but believe the best is yet to come from the side. Meanwhile, Samoa’s Pacific Nations Cup rivals Fiji ran Wales close before beating the Wallabies in a historic win for the ages in Pool C.

“We made too many mistakes and we didn’t adapt to the conditions, particularly at the start of the game. I thought Argentina executed their gameplan really well and we weren’t able to adapt. We knew that with [Emiliano] Boffelli in their team that they could slot them from anywhere and getting that yellow card early on didn’t help us.

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“There’s always a possibility [of a comeback] when there’s time on the clock, unfortunately for us we ran out of time. We weren’t able to get our game going but I’m really proud of the boys’ efforts.”

“We’ve had to compress our week, what a normal week would look like, into six days,” said Mapusua when asked about Samoa’s relatively short six day turn around. “Because of the nature of the tournament, we’re going to be spending less time on the field than we would normally like to. This week will be about getting the players fresh and regrounding our team, taking everything that we can learn from this game and applying it to the next game.

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“Argentina had two weeks off before we played tonight and I understand Japan also have two weeks off before we play them, so I’m sure they’ll be hungry to play. We’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”

Mapusua has said he is proud of what Fiji has managed to achieve at the tournament and believes Samoa could do the same if they were exposed to enough games against Tier 1 nations.

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“The success of a tier two nation like Fiji, there’s a direct correlation between the amount of games, but also the types of games they’re playing.

“I look at Fiji and we’re so proud of what they’re doing at the moment. Seeing them lead into a World Cup playing against France and England, and then going straight into Wales and then beating Australia, that’s pretty impressive to be doing that.

“We’re showing that we can be competitive against Argentina, who are playing in the Rugby Championship, and teams like Ireland ranked number one in the world.”

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