With just over two months until Samoa’s World Cup campaign gets underway, preparations for rugby’s showpiece event in Japan are going better than ever for the 16th-ranked side in the world.
The Newcastle Falcons prop is part of head coach Steve Jackson’s 31-man squad for the pre-World Cup tournament, and told One News of how much different their lead-up to the 2019 spectacle has been compared to recent competitions, which have often been dogged by poor resources and lacklustre training conditions.
“A lot of the time we come together, [there’s] a lack of time we’ve been together,” the 32-year-old said.
“Compared to the tier one, tier two [teams], they literally have a block of a month to come together.
“We come together [in] the week, and play the weekend – which does not help.”
However, Mulipola believes that the squad’s extended period of time together in Auckland bodes well for both the Pacific Nations Cup and the World Cup.
“This is one of the best, we have one week before a Test match,” he said.
“Hopefully we’re going to do better this time.”
Manu Samoa’s international season kicks-off next weekend in their Pacific Nations Cup opener against rivals Tonga at Apia Park.
Clashes against the United States and Fiji in Suva will follow in consecutive weeks, before they face the New Zealand Heartland XV as part of the Pasifika Challenge II at Eden Park in Auckland on August 31.
Samoa open their World Cup campaign on September 24 against Russia at Kumagaya, the first of four pool fixtures which will see them face Scotland, Japan and Ireland in one of the tougher groups of the World Cup.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.