Samoa demolishes American Samoa 92-0 in Oceania U19 tourney
The American Samoa Under 19 national team suffered a massive 92-0 defeat at the hands of a much more experienced Samoa side which outplayed and outclassed them in all aspects of the game.
But despite the dismal score, American Samoa coach Leaupepe Terry Chang remained optimistic that his team will improve if they work hard to rectify the mistakes they made in Monday’s game.
Leaupepe revealed that this is the second time American Samoa has competed in this tournament, the first time was in 2010, and only four members of the 2010 squad are included in this year’s squad. The players were the youngest in the team back in 2010 and did not get any time on the field.
“This is also the first time I have coached a national team,” the coach revealed. “So, we are rookies in the international arena! Despite the thrashing we received, I was happy to see that our boys were right there in the thick of things, giving as much as they were taking with regard to the physical side of the game.
“However, it was skills and set plays that Samoa had the upper hand,” Leaupepe said.
Asked how he got the national Under 19 Coach job, Leaupepe said that he and four other local coaches applied and were interviewed. With certificates for level 1 and 2 plus his coaching experience which spans some 20 years right up to his current coaching stint with the Marist American Samoa team, he was selected for his first national coaching assignment.
Leaupepe said that being selected to coach an American Samoa national team is an honor and privilege, but getting the team together for training and preparation was another thing altogether!
“Unlike Samoa where they have hundreds of players to choose from, the American Samoa Rugby Union had to advertise for interested players and we had to make do with the few who applied,” he revealed.
He also said that many could not attend training sessions because of other commitments and they only had about a month to prepare.
“Now if you compare that with Samoa side we played which according to a SRU official, fielded 12 players who were part of the Under 20 squad who competed in the Under 20 World Cup competition in South Africa this year, you have to give our boys credit,” Coach Leaupepe said.
“Those 12 players were all under 19 years of age but their physique and stamina were way beyond that of our players because they had the facilities where they body build and instructors are available.
“Like they say, the journey of a hundred miles starts with first step,” the coach pointed out.
“American Samoa rugby is just starting its international journey and we have to support our players the best we can. We need to give them more international exposure because that is the only way we can improve. That is how Manu Samoa got to where it is at right now and that is the path that Talavalu should take!”
The game between the two Samoas was the third and final match of the first day of the Oceania Under 19 Tournament 2012 coordinated by the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU). Earlier, Vanuatu defeated the Solomon Islands 55-8 and Tonga demolished Papua New Guinea with 58 unanswered points.
American Samoa will take to the field for their second game against Papua New Guinea at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Apia Park.
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