Manu Sevens target London title
The Manu Samoa Sevens enter the penultimate World Rugby Sevens Series round in London this weekend seeking a tournament win, an achievement which has eluded the team since Paris 2016.
Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said they want to make the Cup quarterfinals in every round.
“Our goal is to still keep performing at a level that we have been," he said.
“We’ve got a belief, on our day we can win a tournament, we’ve proved that."
Samoa made the final of the Las Vegas Sevens, and Tietjens said they were unlucky to lose at the semifinal stage in Hong Kong as well.
“We’ve got a lot of self-belief from those tournaments."
However they know they have their work cut out for them in London, where Tietjens said they'll face a tough pool.
“Particularly with France, who are going really well at the moment."
France, who defeated Samoa twice on their way to back-to-back finals at the Vancouver and Hong Kong tournaments, are the Manu's opening opponents.
They'll play on Saturday at 10:14 pm Samoan time, before Samoa's other Pool B matches against Kenya at 1:20 am and Fiji at 4:48 am on Sunday.
“We don’t even worry about Fiji because if the first two games can take care of themselves it puts us in a good spot to really have a crack at Fiji," Tietjens said.
He said Kenya, who sits 13th in the overall Series standings, should not be underestimated.
“They stand to be relegated, they’ve had obviously issues and problems with their players in Kenya, not being available.
“From what I hear, all the top players are coming back."
Tietjens said they'll be desperate to avoid relegation.
His own side face no such adversity, sitting in sixth place overall with an eight-point buffer over Australia.
Tietjens said it's a really good position to be in, and one they'd love to maintain over the final two rounds.
“That’d be a great achievement for us this year, but we know it’s going to be tough as well."
With Samoa now 20 points behind England and thus unlikely to improve on their place in the standings, Tietjens said they can begin to think ahead to the Pacific Games tournament in July, and the Oceania Championships which determine Olympic qualification.
He said they still want to win every Series game, but youngsters Phillip Luki, Paul Scanlan and Paulo Toilolo coming into the squad in recent times reflects the team's longer-term needs.
“We’re giving those players that opportunity to start building that depth, and the experience of being at those tournaments."