Sapapalii geared up for weekend's challenge
The team Rosalote Lupe Siliva Sapapalii is well prepared and ready to go all the way in the last leg of the Vodafone National Rugby Sevens Series.
The team’s coach, Mapu Mariner, told the Samoa Observer of the challenge that he has made to his team as they prepare for the Friday tournament.
"I have challenged our team, they are 100 per cent with their fitness and individual skills, and there are a few experienced players like Faafou, Iupita Tanu, and the skipper Piilua Papalii, they also help out with the development of the young players in our team,” he said in an interview.
“I have challenged them to try and make it to the cup semi-finals because for the past legs they were always in the quarter-finals.
"And another thing is good that we are in the top 10 so that at least there are two teams from Savaii on the top 10.
“They are maintaining their spot but they need to lift up their standard, and our first target is we are aiming at topping our pool games on Friday.
“After Friday then we'll talk again on what our next game plan will be for Saturday.”
Papalii said that he wasn't expecting such a performance from his team as they are young and rugby is still new to some of them.
However, he admitted that he is proud of the results his boys have achieved thus far at the rugby tournament.
"I wasn't expecting this kind of performance in a two year time but I underestimated their capability and their passion to play for their village.
“If you look at the standard where Upolu's team is at I just can't believe they can do this but I am proud of them, at such a young age and they're still grinding to get to the top.”
Referring back to the last two legs of the tournament that was held on Upolu, Papalii said the team’s carelessness ensured they lost and thus miss a spot in the semi-final.
"We lost to Apia Maroons last week, and then we got our pool and Apia Maroons was one of the teams in our pool. So we worked on the areas which we were slow at and committed many errors to better it in order to conquer Maroons again and they did it.
“For the second week for the sevens, we lost to Apia because after they won against Moataa and Satalo, they felt relaxed and lost to Apia. So last week we changed our game plan and upset Apia with our win.”
"The second leg we were in the same with Apia Maroons and they were the finalists for that round, last week we were in the same pool with Laulii Lions and they made it to the finals too. “For our team we don't really have any Samoa reps in it, Faafou was in one of the Manu Samoa but for other teams, they have more than one player from our national elite teams. But I have challenged them to do their best so they can be in the finals, they can conquer those teams.”
Papalii said that they are going step-by-step, they would rather start from the bottom and end up at the top than starting from the top and ending it in the bottom.
"As a coach, we go inch by inch or step by step, some of the games that we should've won were lost because of careless mistakes,” he said.
“We don't really wanna start from the top because it's not nice to come from the top to the bottom. That's what I mean by step by step, they are slowly climbing up and for me, that's a good start.”