27 Jul 2019

Rugby: Manu Samoa ready for Tonga, Fiji look to defend Pacific Cup

9:50 am on 27 July 2019
Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson. Photo: Supplied/TLA

The Manu Samoa coach says his team have put in all the hard work and are ready to take on Tonga in the opening test of the Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

Steve Jackson said he's been impressed by the players efforts in training, despite concerns about match fitness.

He said Saturday's home match in Apia was more than just an opener for the Manu, and they were rearing to showcase what they've got.

"Not only do we need to put in a performance on the field that we are going to be happy with, but it is so important that this is our one and only home test in Apia," Jackon said.

"You know, we could go out there and put on a display for our community ... and it will build some confidence in us moving through the PNC."

Jackson said he expects a tough game from Tonga but he is backing his players to get the job done.

"We are going out there with all intentions to win the game," he said. "Look, we understand this Tongan team is going to be tough but again we have prepared well."

Fiji eye cup defence

Meanwhile, the Flying Fijians's coach said his squad has enough depth to balance defending their Pacific Nations Cup title with preparations for September's Rugby World Cup.

Fiji have now won four straight Pacific Nations Cup titles.

Fiji have now won four straight Pacific Nations Cup titles. Photo: Zoomfiji

John McKee has named an experienced squad for Fiji's opening match against Japan, later on Saturday.

McKee says two strong matches against the Māori All Blacks have set them up well, but he said he's still keeping an eye on what alterations can be made for the World Cup.

"They know that not all players who are currently in camp will make the World Cup team but they're working very strongly together as a team and I think that's important," McKee said.

"At the end of the day it's team players that we want playing in the World Cup, not individuals."