Selesele blow for Samoa Sevens

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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Samoa vs USA during Pool play of the USA SEVENS Rugby Tournament, March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV, USA. (Photo by James Atoa/Samoa Observer)

Samoa vs USA during Pool play of the USA SEVENS Rugby Tournament, March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV, USA. (Photo by James Atoa/Samoa Observer) (Photo: James Atoa/Samoa Observer)

The Manu Samoa Sevens team has been dealt a blow they did not need ahead of the Vancouver Sevens this weekend.

The team could be without veteran forward Faalemiga Selesele who is struggling with a shoulder injury.

“I more than likely won’t be utilising him this weekend,” Tietjens told the Samoa Observer from Vancouver last night.

“I want him to get right for Hong Kong, I think that’s really important moving forward. He’s still here getting treatment and training with the boys but I probably wont look to start him during the tournament.”

The men in blue will look to use the momentum of a much-improved performance at the Las Vegas Sevens where they were unlucky to lose Trophy final to Kenya.

 “I was really satisfied as a coach by the way we’ve played at times and the improvement we’ve made,” he said.

“Even in the very first game when we played U.S.A., which we lost 24-5, I saw enough in that game that we can be a real threat when we start putting everything together.  

“When it came to England, it came to the final play, when we were hot on attack and Lester Sefo got held up over the line. We were so close to being one of the finalists.  That form really came into fruition against Chile and Scotland, which was a very good win. ”

Tietjens said it is always tough to manage players, especially over three tough days of competition.

 “I would also like to mention the challenging conditions that we faced,” he said.  

“The wind was a real challenge. It was very difficult to play in and it became a leveler really.   In our final against Kenya, which came right down to the wire, it was very hard for the team to score into the breeze.

“Kenya scored 14 points with the wind on their backs and we turned around and scored 14 points with the wind behind our back.  

“It came down to one play and one defining moment where we got penalized for an extra roll in the tackle and they scored from that free kick. That was the difference between winning and losing that particular game.” 

Tietjens added that it is still a learning curve, molding the team bit by bit.

 “There was a lot of improvement and a lot of it comes down to the combination to actually put together a team you think is evenly balanced in a sense that the form players are coming into the top starting seven in the line-up. 

“By the end of the tournament, I’ve sort of found a good starting seven with the impact off the bench.

 “We only got one yellow card this time. I spoke to that particular player about the yellow card and the pressure he puts on the team when we’re down one. In that particular game, it really could’ve cost us.”

Now looking ahead to Vancouver, Samoa is pooled with Fiji, Argentina and Wales. 

But Tietjens remains  optismistic.

“Our real goal is to just keep improving. Our other goal is to get into the Cup championship but we’ve got a tough pool that we’ve got to get through.  To get into the Cup championship you’ve got to win at least two to get through.  That’s the challenge and that’s the goal to get to the quarter final and into the cup championship.”

“I’m really happy and satisfied with where we’re at.  I want to take the improvement into the next tournament which we also have a particularly tough draw.

 “We’ve got some really good trainings in.  I’ve seen in our first training in Vancouver the improvement that we’ve shown.   The way we play is an extension of the way that we’ve trained during the week.”

 

Vancouver, March 11-12: 

Argentina (Local time: 8.14AM, Sunday)

Fiji (Local Time: 12.12PM, Sunday)

Wales (Local Time: 3.30 PM, Sunday) 

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