Rugby World Cup 2011

Fiji fired up for Samoa clash

2011-09-23 07:36
Fiji (File)

Auckland - Igniting Fijian fire will be the key to beating fierce rivals Samoa in their Rugby World Cup clash at Eden Park on Sunday, Fiji's assistant coach said.

The Pacific Islanders are meeting for the first time at a World Cup and the Pool D clash is generating huge excitement among fans in Auckland - home to the largest Polynesian population in the world - who have made it a 60 000 sell out.

"We're using a lot of senior players with a good history of playing Samoa to drive the conversation," Fijian assistant coach Shannon Fraser told reporters on Friday.

"We, as coaches, can speak tactically and talk statistically, but we've really got to ignite the flame within.

"The boys are pretty confident. It's a rivalry clash, a big game."

Fiji have enjoyed the better record having won 25 of the 44 meetings between the teams but none of those contests match the importance of Sunday's fixture.

Both sides easily won their opening matches against Namibia but Fiji were hammered 49-3 by holders South Africa in their second and Samoa lost 17-10 to Wales, meaning defeat on Sunday would all but end the losers hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

Fijian captain Deacon Manu said that despite the significance of the clash he thought both sides would stick to their exciting brand of attacking rugby.

"It's going to be a typical game of Pacific Island rugby really, it's fantastic it's a sell out, so that adds extra emphasis on it," the prop told reporters.

"Whenever we play the Samoans or the Tongans it's always a physical match and there's a lot of big hits. There's a lot of entertaining rugby, but we're obviously there to get the result on the scoreboard.

"I'm sure both teams will obviously be going for the win, but you know expressing yourselves as Pacific Islanders, that's the free-flowing game that everyone's accustomed to, so we're certainly not going away from that."

Fiji reached the last eight four years ago after stunning Wales 38-34 in the final match of the pool phase to advance at the expense of the Six Nations side.

Should the Fijians overcome their rivals on Sunday they have the opportunity to repeat their efforts of 2007 when they play Wales in Hamilton on Oct. 2, which is likely to be a straight shootout for the runners-up spot in the pool behind the Springboks.

Manu, however, was not overlooking the first hurdle of beating Samoa, who produced a surprise win over Australia in Sydney in July.

"We need to match them physically, they're such a physical side and looking at the team that they have there, they've certainly bolstered their side since we last played them," Manu said, referring to their 36-18 win in the Pacific Nations Cup in July.

"We're certainly aware of all their threats and we just need to contain them and make sure we focus on what we need to do."

Samoan assistant coach Tom Coventry was confident his players would not be overawed by the importance of the match.

"A lot of these boys are seasoned professionals," the New Zealander told reporters.

"They play a lot of rugby in Britain and Europe and in New Zealand, so they're no novices when it comes to getting themselves up for big occasions.

"If you're worried about going out there and letting the occasion get on top of you and let emotions take over then you're at a serious risk."


15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Faasavalu, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Kane Thompson, 4 Daniel Leo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (captain), 1 Sakaria Taulafo

Substitutes: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Filipo Lavea Levi, 19 Manaia Salavea, 20 Jeremy Sua, 21 Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, 22 James Sooialo

15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Gaby Lovobalavu, 12 Seremaia Bai, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Nicky Little, 9 Nemia Kenatale, 8 Sisa Koyamaibole, 7 Mala Ravulo, 6 Netani Edward Talei, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Seko Kalou, 3 Deacon Manu (captain), 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Campese Ma'afu

Substitutes: 16 Talemaitoga Dautu Tuapati, 17 Setefano Somoca, 18 Rupeni Nasiga, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Vitori Tomu Buatava, 21 Albert James Vulivuli, 22 Waisea Sedre Luveniyali


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