4 Sep 2015

Pacific rugby players targeted more by officials: Samoa coach

12:10 pm on 4 September 2015

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham has urged his team to improve their discipline, saying Pacific Islands teams are targeted more by officials.

Samoa lock Kane Thompson banned for two matches after being sent off for punching Barbarians hooker Saia Faingaa last weekend.

Manu Samoa forward, Kane Thompson

Manu Samoa forward, Kane Thompson Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He will miss this weekend's warm-up match against Wasps as well as Samoa's opening Rugby World Cup clash against the United States.

Stephen Betham says the language barrier can be a challenge for some of his players but they are often hard done by.

"Not just us - I think Fiji, Tonga. Pacific Islanders no doubt get hammered hard. We're always hammered in the World Cups and I think that's one of the main things we're going to look at is getting the discipline through on-field, off-field, all those sort of things. I think that's one area which we've worked hard at this week is discipline and we're still working hard at trying to get the set pieces right because, for us, set pieces are non-negotiable. Once we get those sorted out our free-flowing rugby should come in, our attacking rugby".

Stephen Betham has made 10 changes to the run-on team to face Wasps in Coventry in an effort to all his squad game time, so they can shake off the cobwebs and press for World Cup playing spots.

Alesana Tuilagi is a late withdrawal because of a calf injury, with Faatoina Autagavaia promoted to start on the left wing.

Tusi Pisi will also miss the match due to an achilles injury, with Patrick Faapale and Paul Perez coming onto the bench.

Manu Samoa head coach Stephen Betham.

Manu Samoa head coach Stephen Betham. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile 'Ikale Tahi coach Mana Otai has made nine changes to his starting team for their clash with Romania in Bucharest, including the return of captain Nili Latu.

Sunday morning's game is also a fundraiser for former 'Ikale Tahi Flanker, and Romanian club player Sione Vaiomo'unga, who was diagnosed with renal failure last year.