The Western Force will again look to their defence in a bid to increase the side’s attacking opportunities when they step out against Kagifa Samoa on Friday night. It was a tactic that worked successfully against Fiji a week earlier and the West Aussies hope it can produce similar results against another side that packs plenty of pacific flair.
The defensive line speed of the Force stood out in their hard-fought win in Lautoka as they set about interrupting the quick ball movement from the Fijians. With Rapid Rugby law variations giving an incentive to teams who can keep the ball in hand, the Force were able to create turnovers and set-up forward thrusts of their own.
Coach Tim Sampson has primed his men to repeat the dose but acknowledges the bigger bodies of the Kagifa Samoa side pose a new challenge.
“Line speed in defence was a focus area for us against Fiji. If you sit back on your heels and let them take the space away from you with ball-in-hand they’re extremely dangerous. I think you saw some really positive defensive plays from us,” Sampson said.
“This week Samoa are different proposition. They still have the creative flair but they’re a bigger, power type side. Certainly the focus will still be to get up in their face, but more importantly to get them to ground on the back of a really aggressive line speed,” added Sampson.
One of the big bodies the Force will have to contend with is Samoan international Misioka Timoteo. Like many Pacific Island players, the veteran prop has plenty of size and speed to call on and is excited to testing himself against the yard stick side in the 2019 Global Rapid Rugby Showcase Series.
“We’re excited and looking forward to coming up against the Force. They have a strong side who have been together for a long time,” Timoteo said.
“We have been working hard and I think we’re pulling together all of the parts to make a competitive team that can challenge opposition sides.”
Timoteo said Kagifa Samoa’s first taste of Rapid Rugby was a positive experience despite being pipped at the post when Fijian Latui scored a try after the final hooter to win the match. Having represented Samoa in both sevens and 15’s he said he is delighted to be able to pull on the Kagifa Samoa jersey in the new Rapid Rugby competition.
“I’m proud to be able to continue to represent the Samoan community,” Timoteo said.
“My first game in Fiji was alright, I didn’t feel too bad. I was thinking I was going to be very tired with all the running in Rapid Rugby, especially for us forwards, but I got through it ok.
“The whole team is very happy to be in Perth and want to play a strong game and walk away feeling like we gave everything we had,” he added.
Kagifa Samoa take on the Western Force on Friday, 31 May at HBF Park with all tickets just $10 – buy online or grab them at the gate!
Gates open 6.10pm | Pre-game spectacular 7.30pm | Kick-off 7.45pm.
The match will also be broadcast – click here to find out more.