Upolu Samoa look for two on tour
Apia, Samoa - 2007 Pacific Rugby Cup Champions, Upolu Samoa will look to secure an elusive double victory away from home, as they square up against a classy Barbarians side at Lautoka this Friday ( Fiji Time ).
Upolu Samoa however will have a handful this weekend, as they stand to take the brunt of a wounded Barbarians outfit, who will be hurting from a last minute loss at the hands of Savaii Samoa in last weeks opening Pacific Rugby Cup encounter at Apia Park.
Despite winning against a tenacious Tau’uta Reds outfit in Tonga, the Upolu side will be wary of the Barbarians side in Fiji, who gave their fellow countrymen a jolt in last weeks encounter. “From all accounts, they (Barbarians) really gave it to the Savaiian’s, particularly in the forwards, We will have to be at our best, if we are to win” said Selefuti Patu, Head coach for Upolu Samoa. “ it is never easy on tour, especially in the pacific, which requires 110 percent focus and importantly mental toughness, no Tongan, Fijian or Samoa side likes to lose at home” laments a cautious Patu .
However, Patu will be confident with the array of talent at his disposal for this weeks Pacific Rugby Cup clash. An impressive mixture of new local talent supplemented with seasoned campaigners including Former Manu Samoa Fly Half Rodger Warren and sevens campaigners Simaika Mikaele at No.6, Lolo Lui at fullback. The Upolu outfit also includes former Highlander and Manu Samoa, Filipo Levi, who Patu has at No.8. “ Levi has been a great addition to the team, his experience will benefit the younger players during the campaign”. Levi, coming in from Japan, played strongly against an aggressive Tau’uta pack last week, alongside sevens veteran and Manu Samoa loose forward Alapasa Cordtz who continues to play at his best during the series. His fiery performance at Teufaiva against the Reds was no exception. “Alapasa has an exceedingly high workload, there are not many players that go’s through that amount of work.” says Patu. Upolu is lead by Manu Samoa hooker Muliufi Salanoa who will be leading Upolu’s challenge at Churchill Park.
Patu is determined to defend this year’s title and gives little quarters to the task at hand,” The Pacific Rugby Cup is growing from year to year, and the levels of fitness and skill just seem to get higher, hence the Challenges each teams face to win against each other become greater” Patu says.” The wins don’t come easy, and the losses I fear, are felt harder”.“In Samoa, they say, only one canoe comes first in a race, we will be determined to ensure that canoe is from Upolu”