Discipline and being well-prepared were the secrets behind Samoa A going on to win the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge.
This was according to the head coach Muliagatele Brian Limā in an interview with the Samoa Observer.
He said during their preparations for the tournament in Uruguay he set a goal for the team to come out victors.
“The tournament at Uruguay happened three years ago, and as a coach the first thing I looked at was the fact that Samoa has never won this tournament, ever since it started 2016.”
“And most especially for three years now Argentina had never lost in this tournament they had never lost in this tournament,” he said.
Muliagatele said they made their preparations, knowing that it was not going to be easy, and focused on their preparations on the players.
“We had to make sure the players are well prepared for this tournament, because at the end of the day it is them that will be on the field.”
“During our preparations, we also knew at the time the teams that we were playing against, and our first game was against Argentina, we knew will be a very tough game – because this is the team that had never lost a game, and of course they will be aggressive.”
“Also we set a goal that if we win against Argentina then for sure we can beat the other teams that we play later on, and so we had to focus on this first game and make sure we go all out and put on our best performance in order for us to beat Argentina,” he added.
Muliagatele said they also had to focus on the culture within the team as the players had different personalities and everyone had to be on the same page.
“We had to make sure they work together and the culture is tight within the team because I truly believe if the team is well discipline off the field they will be well disciple when they are on the field as well.”
The team also looked at the games that were played in previous years and identified the areas that they needed to work on, as opponents like Argentina were different from other teams as they had Super Rugby players.
“This is the only team that had Super Rugby players, so we had to make sure we play our best and then we played Tonga after that, that was another hard game and then for Uruguay it was their National team that we played against so you see all these teams they were really good.”
“[And] when we played Uruguay in the finals they also came all in because they knew they have a chance of winning the tournament, when we beat Argentina so if we were careless in the final Uruguay would have won.”
“So when we went to the competition we were confident that we can achieve what we were aiming for.”
Despite winning the tournament, Muliagatele said there were a lot of challenges in the lead-up to them winning.
“One of the challenges that we really had to work on was the player’s attitude and there were a lot of work that needed to be done in that area,” he said.
“Sometimes most of the players doesn’t show up during trainings and they will come up with so many excuses one of them will be they missed the morning bus, or their relative is sick and what the management were trying to do is to solve this issue within the team and find ways to solve it.”
Moreover, Muliagatele said before they left the management had to challenge them and remind them of the purpose of their trip.
“We really challenge their minds by giving them some really strong message,” he said. We told them that for so many years Samoa A had participated in this tournament and yet we had never won so will do it?
“We told them that they can do this and that this was their time, nobody else will do it only they can do it, they are the only ones who can set an example not only for their children but for the Samoan teams who are participating in any tournaments.”
“We challenge them whether they will have the courage to do it or they will wait for their children to come and do it. We told them that this was our second chance because we have been trying for so many years and we never achieved it so it is up to them to achieve this goal,” said Muliagatele.