Experienced Manu 7s squad fly out on Sunday
The Manu Samoa 7s squad has been working hard in training this week before flying out on Sunday for the next round of the World Rugby Sevens Series in Hong Kong, which starts on the 5th of April.
The final squad of 13 for Hong Kong, and the Singapore tournament the following week, was decided today.
Joe Perez has been ruled out through injury, with Tomasi Alosio coming into the team after his own stint on the sidelines.
Danny Tusitala has been omitted from the previous squad that went to Las Vegas and Vancouver.
Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said everyone bar Perez is in good nick, after the team struggled with niggly injuries towards the end of Vancouver.
“These guys are all fully fit, they’ve come back strong.
“Tomasi’s come back strong with his injury, which is really pleasing as well."
He said the elevated reputation and status of the Hong Kong tournament has had a bearing on the selection process.
“I’ve picked an experienced team, guys that’ve played in the big tournaments, that can handle that sort of pressure.
“It’s not a place you can just chuck brand new young guys in there."
Samoa sit seventh in the overall Series standings after six of the 10 rounds.
Tietjens said they are still pushing for fourth, and the Olympic qualifying spot that would bring.
“That’s our drive, to play as well as we can to secure as many points as we can.
“Being realistic, our goal at the beginning of the year was to make the top eight, in where we’re at and what we’re trying to do in terms of building depth on the island with a lot of new young players.
“And at the moment we’re tracking along pretty well."
Tietjens noted that if his team didn't miss out on the first two Cup quarterfinals through points difference, they would have made that stage at every tournament bar one (Hamilton, where they finished 13th).
He said the team were well aware of the country's excitement around their performance at the last two tournaments.
“Being overseas when that happens, we’re a bit oblivious, but we know that when our team plays, basically Samoa stops to watch us.
“For these boys, it means everything to them."