Manu Sevens need time

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 11 February 2017, 12:00AM

We know. Watching the Manu Samoa Sevens during the past two weeks was quite the task, wasn’t it? 

It was an awfully difficult task that was too.

By all means, we didn’t expect them to perform miracles. 

We accept that the new coaching staff must be given some time to get it together and that most of the players are new players who are trying to find their feet. We totally get that. 

This is why before the Wellington Sevens, some of you might recall this column had reminded that “patience is the virtue.”

Indeed, when Sir Gordon Tietjens took over, we all know that the expectations from all corners of the world suddenly sky rocketed. Many fans expected miracles. Some had gone as far as to suggest the Manu Samoa would win in Wellington.

But we cautioned against such thinking. We said that while we agree that this is an exciting time for the Manu Samoa, possibly the beginning of a new era, to expect Tietjens to work miracles overnight would be rather foolish. 

Now the results in Wellington and Sydney have come in and they speak for themselves. Everyone will have their verdict and of course our views will all differ. Some people have called for Tietjens to be sacked already which has been hilarious to follow.

But that’s okay. This is a free world where people are entitled to their opinions.

Besides, in this country, when it comes to rugby, everyone is an expert. Even netball players become rugby experts around the dining table. It just goes to show how much passion we have for this sport.

What’s important here is that we give Tietjens and Stephen Betham an opportunity to work to improve the team. 

This team’s results will not automatically improve. 

Good things take time and the results we want will not happen overnight. It’s going to take time, lots of hard work and patience. Speaking of patience, it’s something that needs to apply to both Tietjens and our expectations.

Our Sevens team is going through a rebuilding phase. 

But that’s not our only problem.

All you have to do is watch how good the other teams have become to know how far behind we’ve dropped. 

Once upon a time, games against the United States, Australia and Kenya were walks in the park for Samoa. A few years ago, could you imagine Samoa losing to Russia, France and let alone Wales?

But how things have quickly changed. 

Goodness those teams now are impressive units to watch. 

South Africa is a wonder team. When we watch them in action, the spine tickles.

They are a machine, so good in everything they do. The best part is that they are confident, composed and they trust their systems. 

They have got the makings of a champion team, one Samoa should emulate. 

The other teams though are not far behind. Fiji remains up there with some of the best teams in the world. New Zealand is slowly rebuilding and when they turn it on, they are unbeatable.

So where does that leave Samoa? There is no doubt that Tietjens and his men have got a lot of work to do. They know this and we’re sure they are itching to get into their work.

As for the rest of us, well we repeat, we need to be patient and continue to support the team. We can all get worked up until we are blue in the face but that’s not going to do much.

What these players need now more than ever is our moral support. They need to know that we are behind them rain or shine. It doesn’t just apply to the Sevens team, it applies to all the teams. 

This weekend, we’ve got a predominantly local team taking on the superstars of Super rugby in Brisbane at the Global 10s. It’s not going to be an easy task but it should be an exciting one nonetheless for the players involved. It’s a tremendous opportunity to rub shoulders against some of the best players in the world.

To be fair to our players, they need more of these opportunities to prove themselves. They need more exposure, more top quality competitions to help them develop their talents.

Now getting back to the Sevens team, in as far as Tietjens’ reign goes, they haven’t had enough time yet. Let’s give them some time. And let’s encourage them while were at it too.

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless! And go Tama Samoa!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 11 February 2017, 12:00AM
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