19 Nov 2020

Samoa continue preparation for Rugby World Cup tilt

6:46 am on 19 November 2020

The Samoa women's rugby team will continue to prepare for the final qualification tournament next year, despite uncertainty about when it will be played.

The Manusina women's rugby team pack down a scrum in training.

The Manusina women's rugby team pack down a scrum in training. Photo: Supplied/Samoa Rugby Union

Nine teams have already qualified for next year's World Cup in New Zealand, including the world champion Black Ferns, Australia and Fiji from Oceania, and the Manusina are one step closer after overwhelming Tonga 40-0 in Auckland on the weekend.

Although a date for the tournament is still undecided, coach Ramsey Tomokino said they're charging ahead for a spot in the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

"We can only get stronger and we can only get better and we've always said to our girls and to our management team that if we can get the best players, our Samoa players on the park at any one time, we will do the business, we will get the job done and we will get to the Rugby World Cup and I believe we can do that," he said.

Covid-19 has changed the sporting landscape drastically.

The qualifying game between Samoa and Tonga was originally scheduled for Apia in June but was pushed back due to the global pandemic. Border restirctions left teams limited to selecting New Zealand-based players only, and the European Championship was postponed last week.

Tomokino said it could still play a part in the final repechage.

"Look if Covid plays it's part and the repechage gets cancelled, I just hope that those that are watching saw the crowd, the Tongans and the Samoans that were here, and that's the Pacific flavour that you need in the Rugby World Cup."

"If that's the case we'll just say our prayers and hope the powers that be go 'Samoa you've done enough to get there.' You know we've been there before in the past, give us the opportunity to do it again."

Captain Masuisui Pauaraisa said they need to remain focused.

Samoa celebrates taking another step closer to RWC 2021

Samoa celebrates taking another step closer to RWC 2021 Photo: RNZ Pacific / Talei Anderson

"The final tournament is definitely something we have to look at now. We have to prepare ourselves because if we do go to that tournament, we need more time and we need a programme for the girls," she said.

Meanwhile the Tongan women's rugby team believe the future is bright despite their World Cup dream coming to an end.

Coach Sione Pulu said the final score doesn't take away from the improvement the women's game has seen in the last two years.

"We're going to sit back now and see what happens in the next four years. For us, it's back to the drawing board, but it's not the end of the [world] you know. Another Pacific team is [closer] to a World Cup, and it's time for us to rebuild."