State of the Nation: Samoa

Date published: July 3 2016

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With the June internationals now done and dusted, we take a look at the state of affairs in each of the competing nations. Next up, Samoa.

Samoa are coming off a mixed bag of results from the June series. Although they had a disappointing loss against Fiji, they dominated a hapless Tonga side and drew with a strong Georgian team.

The Pacific Islanders still continue to produce some strong players and head coach Alama Ieremia used the recent games to blood some new prospects.

Before their first game of the series against Georgia, the Samoan coaching staff brought in some fresh faces. Western Force full-back Albert Nikoro as well as scrum-half Dwayne Polataivao, number eight Jeff Lepa and loosehead prop Sam Aiono all gained international experience.

As mentioned, in Samoa's first game of the series they drew 19-19 with a very strong Georgian side at Apia Park. It was nine all at half-time after three penalties apiece. Samoa's points came through fly-half Patrick Fa'apale. Samoan veteran David Lemi scored his side's only try of the game.

The Samoans then lost their second game to Fiji, going down 26-16 in Suva. Samoa played with urgency as they came out the blocks firing and at half-time they were up by 16 points. But a second-half Fijian comeback ended with the home side as the victors.

In that match Sunwolves fly-half Tusi Pisi was in fine form as he slotted over three penalties while Hurricanes hooker Motu Matu'u also had a great game, scoring a try.

Samoa won their last game 30-10 at Apia Park. After a Tongan player was yellow carded, the home side made no mistake in taking an advantage as they scored 17 points in 10 minutes. The Samoan defence was lauded, as a well-structured plan kept the Tongans at bay for most of the game. But after Samoan lock Viliamu Afatia was given a yellow card they did let one try slip.

There is a lot of room for Samoa to grow as a rugby nation. They have players plying their trade all over the world which helps with bringing experience back to the national side, especially those competing in Super Rugby, such as Pisi who has been instrumental for the Sunwolves.

Samoa as a rugby playing nation would definitely benefit from playing more regularly at a high level. And that is a problem in which Samoan boss Ieremia believes could be solved by competing in Super Rugby.

"Would I like to see Samoa in Super Rugby? Absolutely. Would I like to see a Pacific Island team in there? Absolutely,” Ieremia told Stuff.

"Will it happen? The reality is that the way commercial things are run, it's going to make it difficult. However it's not going to stop me from pursuing a case for it."

"You will see the benefit of Super Rugby for tier-two nations, where we Samoa are, with Argentina, Japan and Romania getting better and better.

"It's one of our goals, to get into a professional competition, to raise our level."

Read the rest of our State of the Nation pieces following the June Tests right here.

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