Samoa coach looks to erase World Cup woe
Toulouse (France) (AFP) - Samoa tackle France on Saturday desperate to erase the misery of their 2015 World Cup campaign on their return to Europe.
The Pacific islanders' glory days, when they reached the 1991 and 1995 World Cup quarter-finals, looked a distant era at last year's global showpiece.
After beating the United States, Samoa then went down to defeat against South Africa, Japan and Scotland, albeit by just three points in that concluding tie.
Coach Alama Ieremia, a former All Blacks centre, has already made his presence felt after taking over following the World Cup -- only 17 players from the 2015 squad made the cut for games earlier this year against Georgia, Fiji and Tonga.
"The World Cup was a very big disappointment, we should have achieved a lot more but unfortunately we didn't," said 46-year-old Ieremia ahead of a two-match tour this autumn.
After France on Saturday, Samoa go to Georgia against whom they drew 19-19 earlier this year.
"Obviously, we are trying to rebuild and move forward. In the November Test matches we have an opportunity to play tier 1 countries like France.
"For my point of view it's very exciting, especially because we have many players in Europe, in the UK and here in France, it's an opportunity for us to showcase what we can do collectively as Samoa."
However, Samoa have already suffered one setback before a ball is kicked with fly-half Tusi Pisi ruled out for up to 12 weeks after sustaining a groin injury playing for Bristol in a Premiership match last month.
They will also have history against them against Guy Noves' France on Saturday -- they have lost all three Tests they have played against the French.
"We want to win. Our performance and the way we play against France is very important. I think that the exciting thing about Saturday is we are trying to rebuild and France is trying to rebuild."