Captain Alosio braces for Hamilton mission
Manu Samoa Sevens captain, Tomasi Alosio, says the new format being introduced at the Hamilton Sevens this weekend where a team has to win their pool to go straight to the semifinals is challenging.
But he also believes it’s an opportunity for his team to test themselves and push for perfection in pool play, which is an area he admits they have lacked consistency.
Speaking to Radio Samoa ahead of the tournament where the men in blue are up against Fiji, Australia and Argentina in pool play, Alosio said there is a good feeling in the camp.
“We are really focused on Hamilton,” he said. “With the new format, it’s just straight to the semis which is a challenge but it’s also an opportunity for us to get stuck into the big guns first and put in a hundred percent effort.”
The captain said they will have to be at their best to top their pool.
“It’s a tough pool but every team in the world sevens series now is a tough team. We’ll just have to take confidence out of our preparations and do the best we can,” he said.
“We’ll have to take it one step at a time, with our first game against Fiji. So we’ll go out there and give it our best.”
In terms of preparations, Alosio said the players are fit and it a good state of mind. Despite the measles and the bad weather in Samoa, Alosio said that didn’t stop them from putting in the hard work.
“It’s a very strong squad, to have David come back is a real boost for us. Uaina Sione is making his World Series debut and so we’re excited.
“To have those guys come back is a real boost and we hope to get the best out of them this weekend.”
Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said Samoa has got to be disciplined and player smarter.
“We’ve talked about our discipline, we’ve talked about the high tackles, when you’re on the back foot when you give too many penalties away. We’ve got be better and smarter in those areas,” he said.
Like his captain Alosio, coach Tietjens is delighted to welcome back former captain David Afamasaga and some of the more experienced squad members.
“It’s promising, they’re going pretty well. There are some guys there like Perez, Alofipo and Vaili who have a few tournaments under their belts and can really perform when it matters.
“But they’ve got to be consistent, which is our key at the moment to turn around a performance like we did in Dubai.”
Samoa is ranked seventh heading into the Hamilton and Sydney Sevens.
“The new format is tough,” Sir Tietjens said. “You’ve got to win your pool to proceed to the semifinals. We’re aware of that, Argentina, Australia and Fiji, it couldn’t get any tougher but its gonna be a good measure for us.
As for Alosio continuing with the captaincy, Sir Tietjens said it’s a strategic move.
“He’s played really well. He made the dream team back in Dubai,” he said.
“David (Afamasaga) has been out for six months and he’s just come back in. You’ve got to play your way into Sevens when you’ve been out for a long, long time.”
Samoa plays Fiji on Saturday at 2:47 pm Samoan time, before another game against Argentina at 8:05 pm.