New year, new challenge for Vaimauga Eels

By Ulimasao Fata ,

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Taula Eels Head Coach So’oalo Fono leading his team talk session.

Taula Eels Head Coach So’oalo Fono leading his team talk session. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

With one more day to go before the 2018 Bluesky Super Nine Championships kick-off, defending champion, Eels of Vaimauga District, is set and excited for the new challenge.

Vaimauga Eels is set to host the Chiefs of Aana at the Apia Park Stadium as the main clash of this week’s Super Nine competition.

Eel’s Coach, So’oalo Fono told the Samoa Observer their achievement last year does not define their team again this year.

“It’s a huge change this year, few new players coming into the squad to familiarise to this level of competition. Last year is done, 2018 is a new challenge for the Eels.”

So’oalo assured that all the teams competing this year are in it to win and his team was selected from the only available players who played club rugby in Apia Union competition.

“We did not pick these players because of the level of rugby they represented but because they were the only available players therein for our team.”

So’oalo emphasised one of the challenges the team faces this year is that they don’t have enough players for their squad.

He stated they are still working to make sure the whole squad is mentally and physically fit throughout the tournament.  

“The current squad we have is still not enough. Our final squad has less than 30 players.

Taula Eels doing their drills
Taula Eels doing their drills
Taula Eels practicing their lineouts
Taula Eels practicing their lineouts

“But we’re still not going to see it as a big problem because we will still use these players who have committed to our team.

“We’ve tested the players fitness level in the last two weeks coming in from their respective club teams, and we still have players who need more attention to get their fitness level up to the level required. 

“We are also working on our fitness during our drills to make sure the players are mentally and physically fit for all the games.

“So we are still working on it at the moment to make sure our whole team and substitute players are on the same level of fitness with our starting lineup.”

So’oalo added the main aim for the Eels this year is to make sure the players get the exposure they need in order to develop their game.

They are also looking at getting their players to be identified by the national team’s selectors to represent Samoa in the international arena.

So’oalo believes this will be a tough encounter and they know their opponents will seek to avenge their loss last year.

He said they need to start right and they are preparing to make sure they deliver what they have worked hard for in producing an interesting and entertaining clash.

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