25 Jun 2016

Sport: No excuses for Manu Samoa

1:32 pm on 25 June 2016

Manu Samoa rugby coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia says nothing but a win will be acceptable from today's Pacific Nations Cup finale against Tonga in Apia.

The Manu are still searching for their first victory of the June window, after a 19-all draw against Georgia and 26-16 defeat in Fiji.

There are seven changes to their run-on team, with Manu Leiataua, Census Johnston and Jeff Lepa promoted to start in the tight five.

Pele Cowley and Patrick Fa'apale combine in the halves, Paul Perez makes his first appearance since the World Cup at centre and Malu Falaniko is named at fullback.

Alama Ieremia

Namulauulu Alama Ieremia Photo: Photosport

Ieremia said the changes were made to meet Tonga head-on.

"Tonga are a different challenge for us. We have got to make sure that we have the right players and obviously the right game plan for them," he said.

"If you have a look at the team, there are changes, obviously with Census coming in and Paul Perez coming in. The changing around of the halfbacks is also very critical in terms of the type of game (plan) we want to start and finish."

Today's match doubles as a Rugby World Cup qualifier and Ieremia said they owed it to themselves and the fans to put in a good performance.

"It's pretty obvious we just need to win and win well and make sure that the rest looks after itself so it's a clear-cut equation as far as I'm concerned and the players are very much aware of that...there's no point talking about it," he said.

"We've just got to make sure we get the proof so that, to me, is going to take time but it starts this weekend, we haven't got a lot of time."

Samoa, Tonga and Fiji will meet against next year during the June window with the top two-ranked teams over the two-year period qualifying for the 2019 World Cup.

Census Johnston is back in the Manu Samoa squad after finishing his season with Toulouse.

Census Johnston is back in the Manu Samoa squad after finishing his season with Toulouse. Photo: PHOTOSPORT


Sakaria Taulafo, Manu Leiataua, Census Johnston, Jeff Lepa, Faatiga Lemalu, Faifili Levave, Greg Foe, Alafoti Faosiliva, Pele Cowley, Patrick Fa'apale, David Lemi (C), Reynold Lee-Lo, Paul Perez, Faatoina Autagavaia, Malu Falaniko.

Reserves: Seilala Sam, Sam Aiono, Viliamu Afatia, Filo Paulo, TJ Ioane, Danny Tusitala, D'Angelo Leuila, Albert Nikoro.


Kama Sakalia, Elvis Taione, Sila Puafisi, Dan Faleafa, Uili Kolo'ofai, Nili Latu (C), Jack Ram, Sione Kalamafoni, Tane Takalua, Martin Naufahu, Pila Iongi, Latiume Fosita, Apakuki Ma'afu, 'Otulea Katoa, Tevita Halaifonua,

Reserves: Sione Anga'aelangi, Eddie 'Aholelei, Sione Faletau, Opeti Fonua, Sione Tau, Wayne Ngaluafe, Viliami Hakalo, Daniel Kilioni.