Samoa
Fotuali'i: We will continue to call for change
Tom Hamilton at Twickenham
November 23, 2014
England and Samoa kneel united at the end of the match © Getty Images
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Samoa's Kahn Fotuali'i hopes the support they have received from the global rugby community will not drop off in the wake of Saturday's loss at Twickenham.

Samoa contemplated boycotting Saturday's game in protest against the Samoa Rugby Union's management of the team. The team expressed their misgivings over finding out team selection on social media, the lack of funds available and figures outside of the coaching team reportedly influencing team selection.

The boycott was averted but Fotuali'i said post-match he hopes them raising the issues will see a continued improvement for Samoa ahead of the World Cup and for future generations.

"Everything we talked about was sticking together, being tight and being unified," Fotuali'i said. "We prepared well but unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted. But we wanted to put out there that we can put things behind us, regroup and perform well.

Ford helps England re-find focus

© Getty Images
  • When Mike Brown scored in the 52nd minute - it was a wonderfully forged try with the Bath axis of George Ford and Anthony Watson working well in tandem - the game was as good as over. There was an inevitability about it. For all Samoa's attempts to break down the England defence in the first 40, they made yards but not clear incisions. England weathered that, offering little ingenuity of their own, but pulled away in the second 40.
  • As far as Stuart Lancaster is concerned, it is a case of job done but this was not England rebuilding the foundations of a World Cup bid, or re-asserting some fear factor back into Twickenham but more a step in the right direction with Ford pivotal.
  • Read the full verdict here

"We want to drive [the issues raised] right from now and onwards. We believe as a group we need to keep driving it and driving the things that have been at the back of our minds. It's heading in the right direction both for the players and as a country and we are getting good support behind us which has been pretty awesome.

"We have used it as motivation. You wake up in the mornings and see everybody supporting us and showing the love they have for us and sticking behind us. Our biggest statement was to come out and play well, get a result. It was just unfortunate we didn't play for the whole 80 minutes. We stuck in there for 40 minutes but in the last 40 we got run off our feet."

One of the enduring images from the game will be the sight of both teams locked together in a huddle and then kneeling in prayer. It was a show of solidarity between England and Samoa.

"It is something us Polynesians do after the game which shows the solidarity and unity amongst each other. We go out there for 80 minutes, bash each other up but we are all friends. We asked England if they wouldn't mind to come and join us and they came and joined the circle. We said thanks to the Lord for looking after us and thankfully nothing serious happened to anyone."

For Samoa, their next match will be against New Zealand in Apia on June 8 before they play in the Pacific Nations Cup. Then the attention will switch to the World Cup where they share a pool with South Africa, Scotland, Japan and the USA. For coach Stephen Betham, he hopes the support for the team continues but has called for improved performances from his players.

"What we need to look at it is to go back to the drawing board, there's a lot we need to build on but England gave us a good test. We have more time to prepare for the World Cup which is hopefully a different story but we take what we learnt from today.

"It was a good gage for us to come up against a top five tier one nation but we have a lot of work to do between now and the World Cup. We have to step up to the mark or it's going to be a long World Cup for us."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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