Manu Sevens primed for battle
There is a renewed sense of excitement in the air with the Manu Samoa Sevens getting ready to kick off the HSBC Sevens Series in Dubai tonight.
But the road is a tough one for coach Stephen Betham, captain Tila Mealoi and the men in blue.
They have got their work cut out on the first day with a game against England first up at 9.14pm tonight (Samoan time) and then New Zealand at 1.20am tomorrow before Russia at 6.15am.
The equation is simple. Samoa needs to secure at least two wins from those games to advance to the cup playoffs.
That means the team will have to play each game as a final.
Betham said the players know what to expect and they are well prepared for it.
“Team preparations in Dubai are going well,” he said from Dubai.
“At the moment the team is going through its final preps and fine tuning before kickoff on Friday morning.”
Head coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens is with the team but he will only be observing the proceedings.
Which makes the game against New Zealand Sevens all the more interesting.
Betham said he is unfazed by New Zealand’s pedigree.
“We are approaching every game as a final,” he said. “So the way we will approach New Zealand is no different from how we will approach England and Russia.
“If there is anything we have talked about in the last week is everything we do is for and about the team. Titch (Tietjens) has also emphasized that together everyone achieves more.
“As new management we believe that there are a lot of aspects but the most important and crucial at the moment for us is the fitness and strength of the players so that we can play with the same intensity from game 1 through to the last game 6.”
Betham has assured the Observer that at all thirteen players are 100% and primed for battle. They are ready to represent Samoa.
THE TEAM: 1 Francis Ieremia, 2 Gordon Langkilde, 3 Lester Sefo, 4 Lafaele Va’a, 5 Lio Lolo, 6 Alamanda Motuga, 7 Alatasi Tupou, 8 Siaosi Asofolau, 9 Ed Fidow, 10 Tila Mealoi , 11 Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa, 12 Samoa Toloa, 13 Alefosio Tapili