Newly appointed Samoa head coach Steve Jackson is rebuilding for next year’s Rugby World Cup and is keen for the Pacific Islanders to cement a place among the game’s elite.
Jackson was appointed as Samoa’s head coach last week. Samoa are currently in 16th place in World Rugby’s rankings and qualified for the World Cup after beating Germany in a two-match play-off.
The former New Zealand schools and New Zealand Maori representative, is excited about the prospect of leading Samoa’s charge at the global showpiece in Japan.
“We’re excited about the Rugby World Cup,” he told Radio Sport.
“We’ve got nothing to lose and I’m sure there are teams that probably doubt us because of the position that we’re in. It’s a good starting point for us.”
Jackson, who worked as the Blues’ forwards coach in 2017 and 2018, said he wants Samoa to be ranked among the top 10 nations in the world again.
“We’ve let ourselves slip and most people can see that,” he said.
“So that’s where we want to be, to cement ourselves in that top 10… there’s a bit of work to do to get there and we understand that.”
He also revealed that he hoped to recruit New Zealand-based Super Rugby players with Samoan heritage who had failed to play for the All Blacks.
“There’s a raft of players in Super Rugby in New Zealand who, as we all do when we’re kids, strive to be an All Black,” added Jackson.
“It’s got to be my job to open the door and show them the opportunity to play in a Rugby World Cup for the other country (Samoa), whether it be by birth or through their parents.”