Underdogs raring to go

By Maddison Clarey ,

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GAME ON: Manu Samoa Sevens captain, Falemiga Selesele (third from left) among the captains at the Wellington Sevens, which starts tomorrow.

GAME ON: Manu Samoa Sevens captain, Falemiga Selesele (third from left) among the captains at the Wellington Sevens, which starts tomorrow.

Manu Samoa Sevens coach, Damian McGrath, says it is not surprising that fans have written off his team on the eve of the Wellington Sevens.

But he told the Samoa Observer from Wellington yesterday that his team is in a positive mood and they might surprise everyone.

“Most people seem to have written us off but I think we’ll give them a bit of a surprise on Saturday,” he said.

McGrath said team is feeling relaxed and confident as they gear up to confront the United States in their first game.

 “It’s very cold, very wet, very windy, so not ideal conditions but we’ve been training well and we’re prepared,” said McGrath.

There have also been a few minor injuries within the team, but nothing that looks set to derail the hard work they have put in.

“Our captain Faalemiga has been out with some ankle issues so he hasn’t trained with the team this week but he looks good to play on the weekend. Other than that we’ve had a few other minor injuries but nothing too serious.”

This leg of the tournament sees Manu Samoa pitted against some pretty tough teams, with their first game against the U.S.A followed by bouts against England and France.

The games certainly won’t be easy, but McGrath feels the boys have a few more tricks up their sleeves than what people think.
They did lament the fact that their playing field wasn’t always even.

“Seven’s standards are so high. There are countries playing with bigger populations and more resources that can do better than we can here,” he said.

“We have to work twice as hard, put twice as much effort, just to get the same results. I hope that people can appreciate that.”

The team is still looking long term towards an Olympic bid in June, so McGrath isn’t promising anyone an impressive display this Saturday.

“It won’t be a great game but it is a work in progress. Our aim is long term, not short term.

“This is as close to a home tournament that Samoa is ever going to get and we’re glad that people are bearing with us and keep supporting us.

The tournament will be televised live by TV1.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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