After a rocky start, the Manu Samoa Sevens team is looking strong for the next leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
And top of their agenda is to qualify for the Olympics later this year, coach Damian McGrath said.
“Our long time goal is the Olympic qualification in June,” he said.
“We’ve had no pre-season as I was appointed late so we’re using these first legs to get the players up to speed, which we would have done in the summer if we’d had the opportunity.”
McGrath said injuries from South Africa and the Dubai Sevens have not helped.
“I’d hope people will have a little bit of patience because the way our training is structured is for us to come up strong in May and June,” he said. “That’s our ultimate goal, to qualify Samoa for the Olympics in Rio.”
And the start of the year has been positive.
“We’ve been bolstered by some Samoan players who’ve returned who play in New Zealand,” he said. “They’ve made their way back here to train with the squad, so we’ve had some good news.”
Despite the challenges, McGrath is confident the team will be able to step up and do Samoa proud.
He and the team have their eyes set on a Rio 2018 Olympics bid, and urge Manu fans to wait out the World Series whilst they find their rhythm again.
The next leg of the series sees the team travelling to Wellington for the last week in January and Sydney for the first week of February.
They’ll be departing in a few weeks time and are planning strong training sessions to get the team prepared.