3 Aug 2019

Sport: Manu Samoa players challenged to maintain winning ways

10:09 am on 3 August 2019

The Manu Samoa rugby coach has challenged his players to take their chances over the next few weeks with World Cup spots on the line.

The Manu beat Tonga 25-17 last weekend to make a winning start to the Pacific Nations Cup.

Manu Samoa beat Tonga 25-17 in trying conditions at Apia Park.

Manu Samoa beat Tonga 25-17 in trying conditions at Apia Park. Photo: World Rugby / Trina Edwards

Steve Jackson has made 10 changes to the starting 15 for today's second round clash against the USA in Suva and said it was important everyone in the squad got a chance to impress.

"We all know that going to Rugby World Cup you're going to need at least 40-odd players, with injuries and illness and things that happen. We're just trying to build some depth and I think the squad is a reflection of that. We're pretty happy with where the squad is at the moment and those guys getting their opportunity know that they've got to go out and do a job for us," Jackson said.

"We want to give everybody a run, especially in the first two games. I think we've done that. One of the changes in the team: UJ Seuteni, who played extremely well last week, he's not in the 23 this week and that's just because we want to see Henry Taefu at some stage play 10. We want to build some depth in that area moving forward."

Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson.

Manu Samoa coach Steve Jackson. Photo: Supplied/TLA

Samoa have won five of their six encounters against the US Eagles but were pipped 30-29 in Jackson's first test in charge in November last year.

The USA are coming off a 47-19 win over Canada last weekend but Eagles captain Blaine Scully said the Manu would be a big step up.

"We're really looking forward to the challenge. They're a very very good team with a lot of very good rugby players so the challenge for us is to focus on ourselves and do what we do well and hopefully bring that to the contest and hopefully let the score take care of itself."

The USA get an offload away against Canada during their opening round win.

The USA get an offload away against Canada during their opening round win. Photo: Linda Brothers

The USA will leapfrog Italy into 14th place in the world rankings if they beat Samoa, while the Manu will replace the USA in 15th place if they prevail.

The Western Force flanker Henry Stowers is one of six new faces in the Manu's forward pack, with Filo Paulo and TJ Ioane the only survivors, while Johnny Vaili and Ahsee Tuala are joined by five new faces out wide.

The 24-year-old Stowers is capable of playing in all three loose-forward positions, Jackson said.

"You might see him get some game-time in another position on Saturday, just depending on how he goes, but six is his preferred position and it's really critical that we give these guys an opportunity in the positions that they normally play, and we understand there to be other positions that he can play," he said.

"I'm really excited for him because it's his debut. He's played extremely well at Western Force and trained extremely well the last three weeks so deserves his opportunity."

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