Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson has been impressed by the talent and potential within Samoan rugby.
The former All Black has joined the Manu Samoa management team as a technical advisor to head coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, after answering an SOS call from his former All Black teammate.
"Samoa have always had extremely talented players so it's been great working with them and honing those skills but also just being around the environment and talking to other coaches...not having the pressures of a head coach and just being able to just really get down and be a coach, be on the grass, not having any of those worries that go with being a head coach so it's been nice - like a little holiday in some ways - and again it's just a good opportunity to get back on the grass with the whistle and coach."
Former Samoa lock Kane Thompson, who represented the Manu at the past three World Cups, has also joined the coaching team as a technical advisor, while Hurricanes tecnhnical advisor Richard Watt has been appointed forwards coach.
Samoa host Georgia in Apia next Saturday before tests against Fiji and Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup.
The latter matches mark the start of the qualifying campaign for the 2019 World Cup and Daryl Gibson said the team has set itself high expectations.
"Alama is treating this as a new beginning and with his contract going through to the World Cup in 2019 it certainly gives him that time, but the games coming up all add up to qualification games and so it's pretty important that Samoa get off to a good start in those, but then also really firm up that identity around the style of play that the team wants to play and really show its people that it has put the disappointment of the World Cup behind them."
Gibson said the Samoan team is full of impressive athletes and the job of the coaching staff is to get the best out of them.
"It's trying to coach our instincts. I think the great thing about Samoan players is they've got this wonderful natural talent and instincts and so for us really it's trying to organise that in some sort of structure without dampening down those things, so that's been the first sort of challenge. For Alama, he's really trying to build something around having a really firm identity around how the team plays and making sure that it's Samoan rugby and really harnessing that power and the talent that they do possess."
The 41 year old Gibson made his international debut against Manu Samoa in 1999 and also played against Tonga and Fiji during his 19-test career.
He admits his involvement with the national team has opened his eyes to many of the obstacles faced in Pacific Island rugby on a daily basis.
"Firstly, both Tonga and Samoa have well-documented administrational issues and governance and then along with that the financial constraints that are placed on the island teams and that extends through to getting quality players back from Europe or their overseas clubs. Certainly there are a number of challenges but I think Alama has done a lot of good work over the last 6-8 months, since he's taken over, to firstly correct the administrational problems within the Union and really get good alignment between the team and the governing body and gone a long way with getting around the world and making sure he's tapping into as many players who are playing overseas and gauging there interest in whether they want to be committed to Samoa."