13 Jan 2016

Sport: Rebels game chance for Samoa players to impress

12:31 pm on 13 January 2016

Manu Samoa rugby coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia says next month's clash between a Samoan development team and the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby side is a chance for local players to stake a claim for higher honours.

Manu Samoa assistant coach Alama Ieremia.

Alama Ieremia's first match in charge of a Samoan team will be against the Melbourne Rebels. Photo: AFP

The bulk of the Samoan team will be locally-based players, as well as some from Australia and New Zealand.

The match on February the 18th will be Namulauulu's first in charge since being appointed Samoa's Director of Coaching last month.

"It's a big game for the local boys: there's only three test players in there and between the three of them I think they've all played one test each so definitely a development team tour and one of the key objectives out of this is to gauge what the local scene is like for myself and then obviously preparations for the next tournament, which is in Fiji, which is a development tournament between the Islands tier two nations."

Namulauulu says high expectations from supporters is par for the course in Samoan rugby but he's taking a long-term view.

"I'm under no illusions - we're playing a bunch of local boys playing a professional outfit so people can read into it what they want but from my point of view I've got my own outcomes that I'm looking at and, as a first fixture, I'm pretty realistic about things. I'm pretty keen to see how these boys perform at the next level and for them it will be quite exciting to learn certain things as well so not so much worried about the outcome but really it's about the performance and how they gauge and then, from my point of view, we know exactly where we stand moving forward."

Namulauulu says at this stage the Rebels game is a one-off but they're hoping to confirm another couple of matches in the next week.

A Samoa development team will face the Melbourne Rebels in February.

A Samoa development team will face the Melbourne Rebels in February. Photo: PHOTOSPORT