Saints’ prop Campese Ma’afu says that Samoa and Tonga were tough teams for his Fiji side to play against during this summer’s Pacific Nations Cup.
Fiji hosted both of their matches against their pacific neighbours, with both matches taking place in Suva.
“It was good to get back and play against our pacific neighbours, Samoa and Tonga; they were tough encounters, said Ma’afu, during pre-season training this week.
Ma’afu started both of Fiji’s matches in the competition, helping his side to win the title for the second consecutive year, and he says that the tournament definitely matches up to expectations.
“It definitely lives up to its name; its name doesn’t do it any justice! I think you experience more if you’re actually in the battle and it definitely lives up to its name.
“It’s always tough and two eighty minutes games against Tonga and Samoa took me almost two to three days to recover from, so they were tough encounters!”
Matches between two pacific islands teams always begin with each side performing their respective war dance, simultaneously, and Ma’afu says that the ferocity dispayed is not for show.
“It’s pretty much putting your best foot forward to scare them as much as they’re trying to scare us.
“It’s an old tradition going back to the days when they used to go up against each other and that’s what used to start off the war, so it’s very intense. There’s no such thing as smiling until after the match!
With pre-season now well underway at Franklin’s Gardens, Ma’afu says that he is glad to be back involved ahead of next season.
“I thought I’d get back in early and get a little bit of a head start. It’s my first pre-season in almost four or five years so I think it’s good to get back in amongst that.”