Selesele: Samoa's softly spoken hard-hitter

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Falemiga Selesele is spearheading Samoa's sevens campaign as they look to secure Olympic qualification

Falemiga Selesele is spearheading Samoa's sevens campaign as they look to secure Olympic qualification

World Rugby - Appearances can be deceiving. Take Samoa's Falemiga Selesele for example. 

He is a hard tackling, powerful Samoan sevens star who weighs over 100 kg and is physically a mountain of a man. His persona however could not be more polar opposite, a classic example of the elite sportsman on the pitch and the genuinely humble man off it, a bit of a trend on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series. 

World Rugby caught up with Selesele on the back of his showcase performance in Hong Kong, where he was voted into the prestigious Dream Team after continually impressing across the three days. Samoa may have only made it into the Bowl semi-final at the tournament, a step back since winning the Plate in Vancouver, but Selesele was happy with how he played.

"I was pleased with my performance in Hong Kong. We are obviously sad not to have made it further but we are hoping to regroup ahead of Singapore this weekend and continue to improve."

Getting the combinations and strategy right as this round of the series has added importance for Samoa. On 18-19 June, the Pacific islanders will take to the pitch in Monaco for the Olympic repechage in a bid to secure the final rugby sevens spot at Rio 2016. Russia and Canada are the other two sides on the series still in with a chance of making it to Rio and Selesele is keen to use the next three rounds to fine tune their approach.

"Olympics qualification is always on our minds. We are going into all of the events on the series thinking about how we can best prepare for the Olympic qualifier, so there is a lot of importance on these next rounds for us," he said.

In Hong Kong, Samoa head coach Damian McGrath also explained just how important the Olympic repechage is for his side.

"This year for Samoa is all about the Olympics and I would happily lose every round of the series in order to get Olympic qualification," he said. "It would mean so much to the country. I am confident that this group of players can come up against anything the repechage has to offer."

The immediate job at hand however is Singapore. Samoa are in Pool A with England, Fiji and Portugal and will be hoping to replicate the form of the 2006 side who walked away with the Plate, when the last Singapore 7s was held.

Games schedule today and tomorrow

Samoa vs Fiji 5.12pm 

Samoa vs England at 8.55pm 

Samoa vs Portgual 12.04am

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