Manu Samoa backline coach Chris Latham is expecting the Manu Samoa to collide with a fiery Tongan outfit when the two teams meet in Suva this Saturday for the Pacific Nations Cup.
Both winless after first up losses last weekend, Samoa and Tonga will be desperate to secure their first win.
Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has already fingered the blame on too many basic errors last week and he wants the men in blue to cut down on the mistakes.
His assistant Latham echoed similar sentiments when he spoke with the Fiji Times.
Latham says Tonga will be a hard team to beat and given history of rivalry between the two sides, Saturday’s clash will not be any easier for Samoa.
The former Wallaby fullback said the Tongans would come down hard on them, more physical in their approach.
“They will have a few tricks up their sleeves,” he said.
“But we’ve got to make sure that we look after ourselves, we take care of the ball and we aid the game on our terms.”
Latham added that they need to respect the opposition and do the very basics right – like catching the ball and making sure the ball is protected.
Manu Samoa flanker Piula Fa’asalele agrees.
He said the Pacific Nations Cup is always about the battle of the Pacific Islands with the Tonga Samoa clash the most anticipated.
“We’ve taken the positives from the match against Fiji as we now prepare for Tonga,” he said.
“The PNC is a big competition for the islands as we want to see who is the top Pacific team.”
“It was a physical game against Fiji and we were disappointed about the result as we chased them in the second half and almost caught up with them.”
Having represented Samoa for seven years, Fa’asalele said “island rugby now has a lot of depth and many local players are getting overseas contracts.”