The Manu Samoa 7s Head Coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens, is grateful for the Vailima Pure Marist International Sevens tournament.
Sir Tietjens said this was his second time participating in the tournament and he believes the tournament is becoming more competitive with many players displaying exceptional rugby skills.
He said it was a timely tournament, especially when his team’s on their break from the H.S.B.C. Sevens World Series.
“The tournament is growing every year and compared to last year, I think it’s getting bigger and better.
“The competition is becoming fiercer and I think it comes in a very good time for us in between the tournaments after Hamilton and going on for the next two tournaments.
“It’s an opportunity for me to play some players who have been out injured, also some players who have not been getting lot of game time and also an opportunity for some new younger players to put their hands up to try and secure a 7s contract.”
Sir Tietjens says the Marist International Sevens tournament allows local Samoan talents to get more exposure on the international stage.
“It’s a good tournament, it’s good for Samoa and I think it’ll continue to get stronger and as I said, it comes in a very good time of the year for us in between our breaks and give some of our boys some valuable game times to perform.”
He was also impressed with the level of physicality shown by the local talents, but he says there is a need to keep up with the pace of rugby 7s in the World Series.
“They’re certainly not in the level of fitness required in the World Series but they certainly showed some real skills and talents.
“As I always said the physicality is always there but we need to get the players up and the only way we do that is to get them a little fitter to identify them and bring them in and to see what the demands are to be the best 7s player they can be.”
Some members of the Manu Samoa 7s players, including Patrick Fa’apale, Silao Nonu, Lafaele Va’a, Alatasi Tupou, also participated at the Vailima Pure Marist International Sevens tournament last weekend.
“The guys who played in the World Series, particularly the ones who had lots of game time in Hamilton, it was their time to sort of get their body right for the next two tournaments.
“It’s a challenge but it’s getting the balance right and some of my important players like Murphy Paulo, Joe Perez, Elisapeta Alofipo and Tila Mealoi they have had a lot of rugby they are now getting ready for the Vegas leg.”
Sir Tietjens adds hosting another big tournament such as the Marist 7s is a great way of developing the rugby 7s in Samoa.
“You probably need another tournament with the same level, same standard and the same opportunity to start building up.
“I think coming into tournaments like this, you need to do a lot of work with the team in getting them a lot fitter sometimes because if there’s an imbalance in fitness levels, it’s pretty tough for some of the players, particularly the fitter ones.”