Tougher pool awaits 15th ranked Manu Samoa Sevens in Sydney
As if things aren’t already difficult enough for the 15th ranked Manu Samoa Sevens, they have it all to do in Australia this weekend with a very tough pool.
That pool features South Africa, France and Argentina, the team that handed them a handsome, 40-0, hiding in Hamilton last Saturday.
South Africa’s media coverage of the Sydney Sevens has already looked past Samoa, describing Gordon Tietjen’s men as a “woeful Samoan side who were lowly at 15th.”
A lone victory over Wales in a match to avoid the wooden spoon in Hamilton would give coach Tietjens something to build on in Sydney.
Still, the Sevens rugby guru would have been disappointed to watch his team go from an unfortunate loss against Fiji in their opening pool game to capitulating against Argentina and then losing the plot to Australia.
In the build up to Hamilton, captain Tomasi Alosio spoke about how tough the HSBC Sevens Series had become .
But he was confident that they had a very strong squad and talked up how good their preparations had been coming into the two legs of the Series.
“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.”
Coach Tietjens highlighted the need for discipline and to play 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,” he said.
“We’ve got be better and smarter in those areas.”
He also called for more consistency.
Given those goals last week, the Manu Samoa Sevens has a mountain of work to get through in Sydney. The team sustained a couple of injuries to some key players including hard working forward Alamanda Motuga.
Their tackling was also found wanting, extremely poor on a number of occasions.
This week, Samoa opens their Sydney campaign against France on Saturday. They will then play Argentina before they rest that day.
On Sunday, they will collide with South Africa who will be looking to improve from their performance in Hamilton, where they finished 10th. South Africa was also beaten by Fiji.
Due to the recent change in the Sevens format, there will once again be no quarter-final round in Sydney.
Samoa will have to finish atop Pool B in order to progress to the semi-finals, where, should they do so, they will face the winner of Pool C - which includes Australia, the USA, Scotland and Japan.