Newly-appointed head coach Steve Jackson says he is relishing the prospect of revamping Samoa in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup.
Samoa had slipped to 16th in the World Rugby rankings after finishing last in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, behind Fiji, Tonga and Georgia.
As a result, they had to play in a World Cup qualifier against Germany to secure a place at the showpiece in Japan next year. Samoa beat the Germans 66-15, but coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua was still sacked.
Earlier this week Jackson was named as Tafua’s successor and the former Blues assistant coach has already outlined his plans for the next 12 months.
‘I know full well it [coaching Samoa] comes with great responsibility. We will work hard and are determined to gain the respect of the rugby world,’ said Jackson. ‘I’m confident we have the talent, skills and passion in the players to deliver for us at the World Cup.
‘This November tour, which includes Tests against USA, Georgia and Spain, is a stepping stone for me to understand the players and for them to get used to me and the way that I coach,’ he explained. ‘I realise there will be players on this tour that will be available for the World Cup and we’re looking to build competition.
‘There might be some guys that aren’t on tour that will be at the World Cup, and there will be some guys left behind just so that we can introduce some new blood to see where some of these players are.
‘The most important thing, I think, leading into a World Cup, is that we need to build some depth in key positions so that’s what this tour will be about.’
Samoa will be in Pool A with Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Russia.