Manu: Samoa can still progress
September 25, 2011
Samoa's Seilala Mapusua contests the high ball with Vereniki Goneva © Getty Images
Fiji captain Deacon Manu believes Samoa can achieve the unlikely and qualify for the knock-out stages of the Rugby World Cup after their victory over Fiji.
Samoa overcame Fiji 27-7 at Eden Park on Sunday to move into second place in Pool D behind South Africa. However if Wales secure a bonus-point win over Namibia on Monday and then go onto beat Fiji in their final game, Samoa will need to beat South Africa to have any chance of progressing to the quarter finals.
Samoa's failure to gain a try bonus-point against Fiji has harmed their chances of reaching the knock-out stages but Manu has backed Fiji's Pacific Island rivals to push the Springboks all the way in their final match of Pool D.
"Samoa have got a big ask in front of them but anything is possible in this tournament," Manu said. "They've certainly proved today that they're capable of putting a performance on for the full 80 minutes.
"Anything is possible and South Africa will have to play their strongest team if they want the victory against Samoa."
Samoa assistant coach Brian McLean rued missed chances in the first half but was satisfied with his side's performance and the victory over their rivals.
"The first thing on our mind was that we had to win," he said. "We wanted to try and get four tries but we didn't take our chances in the first half, which in the end made it very difficult to get the four tries.
"It's fantastic to have the win and we're really pleased with that, but in view of it being a tournament it would have been nice to have got four tries."
Manu was frustrated with his side's inability to retain possession and their propensity for giving away penalties. But he insisted Samoa's physical defence was the primary cause of both problems.
"It was pretty disappointing, especially the penalty count towards us in the first half," said Manu. "Turning it over that many times in an international, you're going to be really struggling to win games and that was a key component, I guess, to why we lost. We couldn't really go through the phases. I think the credits go to some of the Samoan defence."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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