Domestic players' edge in Manu talent search
Manu Samoa head coach, Vaovasamanaia Seilala Maposua, has confirmed the team’s ongoing search for new talent ahead of the Olympic repechage tournament in July.
Vaovasamanaia told the Samoa Observer that the talent search had so far produced “very good” results.
"I have identified a few players, and are very close to making it to Manu Samoa,” he said.
“There's a group of them I'm working with at the moment that I would love to use this year, if not in July then maybe on the tour.
"I've been very impressed with how they've been training, and they've been doing very well and it's great to see them progressing these few months. As a whole, I think there is an improvement, but they still have a long way to go, a lot of work to do," he added.”
Vaovasa's talent search has taken him to sub-unions; recently he was seen helping with the Safata Rugby Union teams. The coach said it was more than just a search for talent but also community outreach.
"Absolutely, it's bigger than that, it's also a community engagement. It's important that as a Manu Samoa coach, get out and try and get to know all the unions as much as possible and I will be in Savaii this weekend as well,” he said.
“I'm always searching for players, I've never stopped.
“I am ensuring that we are covering the whole country and not just relying on Apia or the most populated areas. And as I said, the big part of this community engagement is getting out and meeting the people that are growing the game here."
He confirmed that he has already approached some of the prominent players residing overseas but acknowledged the difficulties in doing so.
"I have been in contact with most of the overseas players, so for this campaign in July, it's really hard for European players to come down,” he said.
“Their season goes right down till the end of June, and then with travel restrictions and quarantine, that's going to be a big hassle for them to come down and play those games.
“They will have to quarantine on both sides, so this presents a big opportunity for the local players.”