14 Jul 2014

Sport: Manu Samoa coach pleased with June progress

10:59 am on 14 July 2014

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham says the June window was a valuable step in their preparations for next year's Rugby World Cup.

The Manu drew with Tonga in Apia before victories over strong teams from Italy and Fiji, and won their conference in the Pacific Nations Cup.

A locally-based team was also beaten by a full-strength Japan at the end of May.

Stephen Betham says it was important to atone for a disappointing end of season tour, where the Manu were embarrassed by Ireland, the French Barbarians and Georgia.

"It's good to get back into the winning column and plus the boys, most of them, are coming off come off a long season in Europe and they have to grind it out in the hot weather here in Samoa but, at the end of the day, we got the wins we needed and we're slowly getting back on track heading into the World Cup".

Stephen Betham says planning is already underway for this year's November tour, while he would welcome the proposed All Blacks test at Apia Park next July.