Manusina Sevens trial squad named
Off the back of the Marist Sevens, the Samoa Rugby Union has invited 37 women to trial for places in the Manusina 7s squad to compete at the Olympic repechage qualifier in June.
2020 champions Supakako Linwood had eight players picked to trial; seven Manusina representatives along with Elesi Leiataua.
Fellow finalist Aleipata and semifinalist Apia Maroons each had seven players picked, reflecting their status as the best local teams at the tournament.
While Avele College, Marist Angels and Teine ole A’ava were only competing at the Marist Sevens for the first time, they each had at least two players picked for the trial squad.
Players will also be able to press their case for selection during the three rounds of the Bluesky National Sevens Series, to be played on the 22nd and 29th of February and the 7th of March.
The repechage tournament is scheduled for June 20-21 in Biarritz, with Olympic berths available to the top two sides.
Having finished third at the Oceania Sevens last November, the Manusina will be up against runners-up Papua New Guinea, as well as Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, Russia, France, Madagascar, Tunisia, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
That result means they missed out on attending the inaugural World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series in March, from which the winner would qualify to play on the 2021 World Rugby Sevens Series.
Concurrent with the Olympic sevens qualification process, the Manusina 15s will be attempting to qualify for the 2021 Rugby World Cup.
They will play the winner of a match between Papua New Guinea and Tonga on the 18th of April for the right to represent Oceania at a repechage tournament, with the winner progressing to the World Cup in New Zealand in 2021.
The dual campaigns will stretch the depth of what is a limited talent pool for the Manusina, given the small number of local elite players and foreign-based players’ general reluctance to commit their international eligibility to Samoa.
Manusina 7s triallists:
Masusuimatamaalii Pauaraisa, Alafou Fatu, Easter Savelio, Luisa Gago. Elesi Leiataua, Helen Vaotuua, Josephine Falesita, Nina Foaese (all Linwood), Apaau Mailau, Perise Tumutumu, Linda Fiafia, Oketopa Fa’afua, Suliando Lafai, Melania Tiligo, Tutoatasi Marieta (all Aleipata), Saelua Seleti Leaula, Elisapeta Leti, Faalua Lefulefu Luamanuvae, Lomi Mulipola, Jasmine Esekia, Mileta Tino, Alofa Sopoaga (all Apia), Fagamanono Sila, Marie Kaisa, Vaiokupa Iona (all A’ana Blues), Fialauia Hunt, Tafamamao Meleisea, Papaigalagala (all Avele College), Mary Stowers, Betta Toala (both Marist Angels), Sanita Mua, Vaitai Vivi, Teuila Tagaloa, Fuaalii Mua (all Taga), Marylin Akeli, Losalia Siaki, Litia Nuu (all Teine ole Aava).