Secret out of the bag, Mealoi captains Manu Sevens
The wait to find out the names for the Manu Sevens squad is finally over.
Yesterday, the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi announced the official Manu Seven’s squad for the HSBC World Series in Dubai and Cape Town.
The Prime Minister bestowed his blessings on the team before the team sets off for Dubai today.
He encouraged the boys to try their hardest out there as all eyes will be on Samoa. He also reminded them to keep up their fitness as Sir Gordon Tiejens is renowned for his extreme adamancy on keeping a fit team. Lastly, he also reminded them to not be afraid, especially going up against top teams like Fiji.
Interim Head Coach, Stephen Betham was also in attendance . Betham has established a pattern of selecting a mixed group of experienced players and new bloods. This will be Gordon Langklide and Lester Sefos’ first cap in the international seven’s arena and crowd favorite, Faalemiga Selesele, is left out of the line-up. Hand-picked to fill his shoes as Capitan will be Tila Mealoi.
Mealoi has been primed for this moment as he was the Captain of the Sevens team that made it to the semi-finals in Oceania. Interim Head Coach, Stephen Betham commented on his selection, “we needed to see if we have another leader in the pipeline and we took Tila onboard to see what his leadership qualities were like.
Tila did a very good job. Not only on the field but off field, he has a lot of qualities as a Captain. “
Mealoi was ecstatic to be named Captain and recounted his first experience as skipper in Oceania. He stated, “It was my first time leading the boys.
When I was just a player not the Capitan, I was doing my job and relying on the skipper. Now I’m the skipper , I’m leading the boys. We didn’t do that bad in Fiji , at least we did our best.”
Mealoi has very much matured both physically and mentally since his first cap and is now an integral member of the team. Not only has his skill level increased but he has proven that he is ready to take on the role of skipper.
He stated, “Right now, I’m changed. Before I was always joking around with the boys but now I’m the skipper, I’m stepping up to be a skipper. Like the role and attitude of a skipper. I’m happy that I’m serving Samoa with my talent and to be with the boys and travel around the world.”