Well done, Samoa A! Now why has not one of them made the Manu Samoa?

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

At long last there is some positive news on the rugby front. We are talking about Samoa A’s well deserved victory at the Americas Pacific Rugby Challenge at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo. 

The win is great for rugby in Samoa, especially for the controversy-prone Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) which desperately needed some positive news to break their way after what’s been unfolding publically lately. 

Alas this a moment to savour, a time to celebrate. On that note, we want to congratulate Captain Afa Aiono, Head coach Muliagatele Brian Lima, his Assistant coaches Mailo Potu Leavasa and Soifua John Schuster, team Manager Tuala Pat Leota and all the players. 

Let me say that you have all made Samoan rugby supporters so proud, especially given the fact it has been a long drought for this country in terms of rugby successes.

Of course we know it’s not the World Cup but something is better than nothing.

And when the going is tough, some times all you need is just a little break, a sparkle that could transform results, and change our thinking. Something to restore faith and pride in ourselves.

There is no doubt, Samoa A’s victory this week is that sparkle.

Perhaps the biggest achievement for them was the victory over Argentina, the team that has dominated this tournament from the start. It was a victory we believe set a solid platform that inspired Samoa A to go all the way. 

It makes sense. Argentina are no longer minnows of the game. Since they have been getting regular exposure against top teams like the All Blacks, Australia and South Africa, rugby in that part of the world has lifted to another level. The Argentinian team Samoa A defeated is the feeder team to their main squad, which means the players they faced were some of the best in that part of the world.

Yet Samoa A stood up to the challenge, believed in themselves and achieved what was seemingly impossible, given Argentina’s dominance.  But that was just the start.

The battle of the Pacific, between Samoa and Tonga, was equally intensive and confrontational. Yet the men in blue did not take a backward step. They hung in there and conquered another tough opponent, to set up a winner takes all showdown with host nation, Uruguay.

On Monday, Samoa A was up against 15 players on the field and thousands of screaming Uruguayan fans on their home turf. And it didn’t take long for the home team to draw first blood from an early try.

Samoa A maintained their composure to hit back through half back Ionatana Tino. The try was converted by Alai Leuila who also landed a penalty kick to give Samoa a 10-7 lead. The home team was far from done, securing a second try just before the half time to take the lead, 10-12. 

Things looked quite alarming for Samoa at the start of the second spell when winger Johnny Samuelu was sin binned for a dangerous tackle. 

Thankfully, Bradford Lemalufaitoaga scored a try for Samoa, the first of a brace of tries of tries in the second half that would put the result beyond doubt. The rest as they say is history.

What a feeling, what a moment. This is certainly a breath of fresh air from all the nastiness we’ve been reading of the infighting within the board of the Samoa Rugby Union. 

Now here is something to think about. Since Samoa A has just won the Americas Pacific Rugby Challenge championship, why is it that not one of the players is in the Manu Samoa for its end of year tour of the Northern Hemisphere?

You would think that at least two or three of these players deserve a shot at the Manu Samoa, and the chance to test out their skills ahead of the Rugby World Cup next year. 

But that’s not happening. With a new coach, the Manu Samoa team contains many of the same old names, whom have for years continued to play like they don’t even want to be there. Which is a pity.

If we are going to lose games at that level – as the Manu Samoa has been doing recently with the exception of Germany – shouldn’t we be looking to invest in some younger players to give them a taste of international rugby, get them prepared and excited about further honours than just Samoa A?

What do you think? Write and share your thoughts with us!

Have a wonderful Wednesday Samoa, God bless!

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