We Want to Dedicate This Game to Our People Who Lost Their Lives in the Tsunami; Just Six Weeks after a Devastating Natural Disaster, Samoa's Coach Tells Gareth Griffiths Why Tomorrow's Clash with Wales Will Mean So Much
Byline: Gareth Griffiths
SAMOAN coach Fuimaono Tafua has revealed the personal torment he suffered following the tsunami that rocked his nation in September.
Some of Tafua's cousins were among the 120 people who died in the natural disaster that struck the Pacific Islands six weeks ago.
And Tafua arrived in Wales late this week after carrying out what was described as the Samoan camp as personal business.
"It has been very hard," said Tafua. "I was in Samoa when it happened and it was devastation.
"I lost some of my relatives in the tsunami and it has been very tough.
"It all happened very suddenly and there was nothing people could really do.
"Some of the people who passed away were old and they could not run.
"There were also some young people who were trying to help their parents and some older people trying to save their kids who also died.
"I am from one of the villages on the south of the island where most of the damage took place.
"Some of our houses were damaged and I was lucky my mum was in the town.
"Most of the houses are now gone including mine.
"It has been six weeks now since it happened and I have just been trying to clean up.
"The government is helping us but the whole country has not yet got back to the state it was before.
"When I go back I have to go back to the bank and apply for a loan to help to rebuild a house.
"I have had to move and luckily we had some land in the town."
And Tafua explained there could have been even more victims.
"It is lucky the tsunami came in the morning rather than the night because there could have been much more casualties," he added.
"The population is not that big and it could have been much higher."
The Samoan rugby players based on the island have been helping to rebuild the infrastructure in their homeland.
Now they have met up for the first time as a national squad in what is sure to be an emotional European tour which includes games against Wales, France and Italy.
And Tafua declared the squad would dedicate a victory against Warren Gatland's side tomorrow evening to the Samoan people who will be huddling around television sets to watch the game which will kick off at 6.30am their time.
"We want to dedicate this game to all of our people who lost their lives in tsunami," added the Samoan coach.
"Rugby is our national sport and we are trying our best to change the mood of the Samoan people and put a smile back on their faces.
"We want to play a very good game of rugby against Wales so our people can enjoy it."
And Samoa have happy memories of previous visits to Cardiff after their famous World Cup triumphs of 1991 and 1999.
"We hope that our players can make it third time lucky," added Tafua.
"Those victories in Cardiff are steeped in the history of Samoan rugby."
The two sides have also been drawn together in the 2011 World Cup and will meet in Hamilton in just under two years.
"It is important ahead of the World Cup," added Tafua. …