Manu in Hamilton Sevens 'pool of death'
The Manu Samoa 7s will pay double for their poor performance at the Cape Town Sevens with a tough draw at the Hamilton leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Their 13th place finish in South Africa made them the fourth seed in a loaded Pool D, which also features Fiji, Argentina and Australia.
To compound matters further, only one team will advance to the tournament semifinals from what looks to be the ‘pool of death’, featuring the defending Series champions Fiji, as well as three teams that finished between sixth and ninth overall last season.
The contracted competition, in which teams will play either four or five games over the two days, is due to the expanded women’s tournament running alongside the Hamilton Sevens this year.
Samoa’s first game will be against Cape Town semifinalists Fiji at 2:27 pm Samoan time on the 25th of January.
Their other match on the Saturday is against Argentina, who made the quarterfinals in both legs of the Series so far, at 8:05 pm.
Their final pool game is at 1:35 pm on Sunday the 26th against Australia, who also disappointed in Cape Town.
It will be the teams’ fourth matchup in just over two months, stretching back to Samoa’s crucial loss in the Oceania Sevens where Australia earned an Olympic qualifying spot.
The winner of Pool D will advance to the semifinals and either the final or third place playoff on the Sunday night, with placings from fifth to 16th being determined by one-off playoffs between the second, third and fourth-placed teams in each pool.
The Manu 7s are currently seventh in the overall Series standings on 19 points, four short of Fiji in sixth and four ahead of 11th placed Kenya.