Johnston out to "smash" Fiji
September 23, 2011
Johnston is in bullish mood ahead of the all-Islander clash © Getty Images
Samoa prop Census Johnston has lit the blue touch paper ahead of Sunday's clash against Fiji calling on his side to "smash" their Islander neighbours.
Johnston's Samoa need to beat their fellow South Sea Islanders or be left facing an early exit from the tournament after last weekend's loss to Wales in Hamilton. Fiji are in an identical position - they play Wales on Sunday week - knowing victory would keep them in quarter-final contention.
"With the backs that the Fijians have you have to smash them up front," former Saracens prop Johnston said. "For me, that is my job, that's what I need to do. The Fijians are not a small pack."
Fly-half Tusi Pisi, who returns to the Samoan line-up after a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the Wales game, backed Johnston's sentiments. "For us, it's going to be won up front," he said. "If we can get good go-forward ball and our backs can look after their ball, then we will come out on top.
"We can definitely learn a lot from our previous game against Fiji (in the Pacific Nations Cup) when we lost. It's just about us sticking to our gameplan."
Fiji need to recover from a 49-3 drubbing against world champions South Africa, but their task has not been helped by the loss through suspension of flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu. Waqaniburotu landed a three-week ban after being cited for a dangerous tackle on Springboks full-back Pat Lambie and will not play again in the tournament unless Fiji make the semi-finals.
"He's a fantastic player," Fiji skipper Deacon Manu said. "He's got a huge future in front of him, and to lose him at a crucial stage it's probably not ideal.
"I feel for him. He has trained with us, he's put his heart and soul into the jersey, but the guys taking his place, they are more than capable of performing to that level. We need to match Samoa physically. We are certainly aware of all their threats, and we just need to contain them and make sure we focus on what we need to do.
"They are littered with key threats, really. They've got strong, hard-running backs with a lot of experience, a lot more experience than our guys in terms of playing at the higher level. Both teams will obviously be going for the win, but expressing yourselves as Pacific Islanders is the free-flowing game that everyone is accustomed to, so we are certainly not going away from that."
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