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Samoa keen to seize big chance

Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger has told his men they have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to beat England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The former Sale hooker has come agonisingly close before, having been part of the Samoa team that gave England a scare in the pool stages of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. But Samoan rugby is arguably stronger now than at any point since then. The national sevens team are world series champions and Samoa beat Fiji 31-9 in June to win the Pacific Nations Cup.

"The English are one of the teams you measure yourself against," said Schwalger. "I have been saying that to the boys - this opportunity will never come twice. Grab it with two hands and make sure you win."

He added: "We did feel the same with Ireland last week. We felt like we could have won the game and there is now a sense of frustration."

When England ran out 40-3 victors in 2005, Samoa had two players sin-binned and Alesana Tuilagi sent off for brawling with Lewis Moody, who was also given his marching orders.

In 2007, England saved themselves from World Cup elimination with a 44-22 victory over Samoa in Nantes.

Schwalger is convinced that if his men keep their discipline then this time could be different.

"In 2003 it was a great game and late in the game we were still leading," he said. "It is about discipline. In all the years we have played against England we can compete all the way up and that is the only thing that lets us down.

"It is all about attitude and getting that mindset right. It is a great challenge this week and we are looking forward to it.

"This tour is really important for our World Cup preparation."


From Belfast Telegraph