RWC Diary Day 26 - Alfred Uluinayau
24 September, 2011
|Alfred Uluinayau (left) presents Sisa Koyamaibole his playing strip. |
This evening former national fullback Alfred Uluinayau presented the Flying Fijians their jerseys in a moving ceremony in which he reminisced over the many times he’d come up against Samoa in his career. Most notably he recounted the saga of the 1996 match when a star studded Samoa side led by Pat Lam were trounced 60-nil at the National Stadium in Suva.
“Samoa came across with a really strong team and full of confidence, however on that day we played for each other, we listened to our coaches and we were devastating,” Uluinayau said.
Tomorrow (Sunday) Fiji faces an equally confident Samoan side still living off their thrilling victory over Australia last month and while all international media and most rugby pundits seemed to have more or less written Fiji off, Uluinayau believes Fiji have a great chance of victory.
“I was scared of most sides when I played for Fiji but one side I was never scared of playing was Samoa, I used to love playing them because we knew how they played and we knew we could beat them, that hasn’t changed, if you play for each other you will beat them,” Uluinayau said.
These were sentiments echoed by former Flying Fijians coach Wayne Pivac who paid a fleeting visit to the team this morning. He believes there’s an immense amount of pressure on Samoa to win and this could work in Fiji’s favour.
“Personally I think there’s a lot of pressure on the Samoans after beating Australia earlier in the season,” Pivac said.
“I think the expectations (for Samoa) are very high and whether their realistic or not time will tell, but I think the Fijians have a side that’s capable of beating them, it’ll come down to on the day in terms of the preparation and the self-belief, but certainly there is the ability from 1 to 15 to win this match.”
With our Captain’s Run done on Friday afternoon the players were on lock down in the hotel today with no one allowed away from the confines of the hotel except for the brief morning walk through at Mount Smart Stadium. All visits from well wishers were also restricted as the team and players focused on Samoa and their individual and collective tasks within the team.
On the appeal front and Dominiko Waqaniburotu’s three week ban has been upheld. It’s a little sad as ‘Dom’ was a real force against the Springboks and is a real gentleman on tour. With our appeal unsuccessful any hope of Dom playing in any of the remaining pool fixtures has disappeared.
From all of us here, thank you so much for all your support.
Until tomorrow, moce mada. View the Flying Fijians RWC 2011 photo gallery.
View video highlights of the Flying Fijians in New Zealand.
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