Samoa brace for 'best ever' Kiwis
Toa Samoa coach Matt Parish is bracing for a clash this weekend against a Kiwis side he believes is among the best he has seen.
Following New Zealand's 30-12 demolition of the world champion Kangaroos at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday, Parish knows his team will be up against 17 players full of confidence and ability.
"I think they are one of the strongest Kiwi teams we have seen," Parish said ahead of Saturday's match at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.
"I can't see the team we are playing being vulnerable; they have two very, very good halves in (Shaun) Johnson and (Kieran) Foran. Their forward pack is big and mobile with offloads in them, and young (Jason) Taumalolo has certainly added another dimension to their pack.
"Then you have a guy like Issac Luke coming out of dummy-half and he is as good a number nine in the world as Cameron Smith; we are certainly going to have our hands full.
"They haven't got too many weaknesses at all and they showed that last week with a comprehensive win over Australia."
While the Kiwis will be carrying the momentum gained from a rare win over the Kangaroos to open their Four Nations campaign, the Samoan side also come off an admirable performance against England in a narrow 32-26 loss.
The Samoans led that match twice, dominating 54 per cent of possession and running for over 200 more metres than their rivals.
"We came out of it pretty well after a tough game on Saturday," Parish said.
"If we can turn up and play well we can definitely compete, I think the secret to our guys is that we have to turn up and bring our 'A' game.
"We showed last week we have the effort, we just need to fix up a few bits and pieces.
"[The message for this week is] bring your best game, do whatever you have got to do to bring your best game because we are going to need it."
Meanwhile captain David Fa'alogo said his side were relishing the chance to play in front of a crowd featuring plenty of Samoan support.
"I am very excited because Whangarei is probably a dominant Kiwi town, but that is awesome to hear," the veteran front-rower said of news that 16 buses of Samoan supporters were scheduled to make the two and a half hour trip up from Auckland.
"Sixteen buses…I heard there was three but sixteen is even better.
"It is a bonus for us, it will be nice to see the blue and white in the crowd and give us a push.
"Any support really helps, it can lift you when you are in the dumps and can easily turn the momentum of the game."
Parish has made a couple of key adjustments to the side which took the field last week, with livewire utility Pita Godinet starting at hooker following his two-try performance off the bench against England, and Bulldog Tim Lafai replacing Ricky Leutele in the centres.