Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Steamers prop Solomona Sakalia in positive mood

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TOUGH BATTLE: Steamers prop Solomona Sakalia, right, pictured during last Saturday's loss to Taranaki. PHOTO/Supplied
TOUGH BATTLE: Steamers prop Solomona Sakalia, right, pictured during last Saturday's loss to Taranaki. PHOTO/Supplied

Bay of Plenty Steamers prop Solomona Sakalia is not getting side-tracked worrying about Counties Manukau ahead of Sunday afternoon's clash in Pukekohe.

"I saw the result last week when they lost to North Harbour but for us we just have to worry about our own game. That is the important thing for us and executing our game plan," he said.

"Probably the key is to re-group, look at the Taranaki game honestly and just prepare well for the Counties game that I'm looking forward to."

Sakalia was part of the starting forward pack that struggled early on against a typically well-drilled Taranaki eight.

"We struggled to get our set piece going in the beginning. We probably needed to problem solve on the go because we know what our scrum capabilities are and lineouts didn't go as well as they have been," he said.

"We go in there with a game plan but if something doesn't go quite right then we have to talk to each other. The subs off the bench did well when they came on which steadied it a bit.

"In general there were glimpses of what we can do, and our kicking was good because we played quite a lot of the second half in their half. There were quite a lot of lineouts in their half so we were definitely down in the right end of the field at times.

"The boys finished well and charged home in the final quarter so that was a positive that we went for the whole 80 minutes."

Sakalia played his club rugby for Mount Maunganui and had enjoyed some good days at the Tauranga Domain.

"The boys really enjoy playing at the Tauranga Domain. We haven't got a result there yet (in last two seasons) but the boys will be looking to put in a better performance when they play Otago (Sunday, September 4)."

Sakalia is into his third season with the Bay of Plenty Steamers after coming north from Wellington.

He played in the same Wellington College First XV as Lomi Sopoaga and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen and made a very strong New Zealand Schools side in 2009 that included Sopoaga, his Bay of Plenty team mate Joe Tupe, Sam Cane, Carl Axtens, TJ Perenara, Charles Piutau, Francis Saili and Steven Luatua.

Sakalia liked what he had seen so far with the 2016 Steamers squad.

"It has been good. The boys have prepared well. We had a good six-week training block before the actual season started and beat Auckland and Northland.

"Coaches Doncs (Clayton McMillan) and (Rodney) Gibby have put in a lot of time with the boys in the lead up to the season and there is a good feel about it.

"The boys are young and excited and we are going to bounce back against Counties this week."

Sakalia says winning promotion up to the Premiership and challenging for the Mitre 10 Cup is the major goal.

"That's where we want to be. It is definitely a goal driving this team.

"You want to be playing against those big teams like Canterbury and Auckland, and you want to be performing against them. Even with these cross-over games against Taranaki and Counties we want to play well."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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