Manu Samoa, Manusina 7s ready for Oceania
Manu Samoa Sevens coach Muliagatele Brian Lima says the Oceania 7s tournament is a chance to make amends after narrowly missing automatic Olympic qualification last season.
Manu Samoa has one last chance and it is this weekend and the team has to ensure that they have the highest finish possible at the end of the tournament.
“Although we were extremely disappointed that we missed out on automatic qualification, we are aware that the Oceania 7s is perhaps our best chance to qualify, with New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia having already qualified,” Muliagatele told Oceania Rugby media.
“It is critical that we make use of this opportunity because, should we fail, the chances will be even more difficult, with South Africa, Great Britain, and Ireland also vying for the remaining spots in the final Olympic repechage next year”.
Sevens sensation Vaa Apelu Maleko has been named in the side for the clash this weekend, and while the coach has made some changes, the core of the team that played together last season remains.
Prior to arriving in Ballymore in Queensland, the Manu Sevens spent time training in Fiji, where they have had matches with local clubs and the French national side.
New Zealand, Australia and Fiji have qualified from Oceania and have been pitted in one pool which means Samoa’s chances are high that they can still make their first Olympic Games in rugby sevens.
The Manusina Sevens have also arrived in Australia and while a spot for Olympic qualification is available, their biggest hurdle would be the Fijiana Sevens.
Manusina sent shockwaves earlier this year when they defeated Fijiana in the 15s game at the Oceania Championship and the sevens team are looking to do the same.
In the men’s division, there are 15 teams that have been divided evenly into three pools. In Pool A, there is Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Niue and an Oceania team.
Samoa is in Pool B with Solomon Islands, American Samoa, Cook Islands and Tuvalu. Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Nauru make Pool C.
Manusina Sevens are in Pool C of the women’s competition along with Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Nauru.
Matches kick-off on Friday.
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