Manu Sevens, Australia rematch in Cape Town
After an impressive finish at the opening leg of the H.S.B.C. Sevens in Dubai last weekend, the Manu Samoa is in the box seat to qualify for a Cup playoff spot at the Cape Town leg this weekend.
The Sir Gordon Tietjens-coached team has been named the number one seed in Pool D as the men in blue look to consolidate a pretty solid start to the World Sevens Series campaign.
Standing in the way in pool play are Australia, Ireland and Kenya. It’s not by any means an easy pool but recent form would suggest that Samoa could make the Cup playoffs.
In Dubai last week, Samoa ended a lengthy losing streak to Australia when the Manu knocked them out in the quarterfinal. The win was a much-needed moral booster after the Oceania Sevens where Australia crushed Samoa’s Olympic hopes.
The Manu Samoa Sevens opening game is against Kenya at 4.59am on Saturday morning Samoan time.
Ireland is up next at 11.19pm on the same day.
The team will then have a breather for the evening before confronting Australia at 5.19am Samoan time on Sunday.
Last weekend’s performances were dedicated to the measles tragedy that has already claimed 70 lives in Samoa.
The Manu Samoa and New Zealand were also awarded the 'Mark of Excellence' award after walking out together and sharing a prayer for the affected families before their pool match.
Captain Tomasi Alosio told Radio New Zealand they wanted to bring a smile to the faces of people in Samoa who have been affected by the health crisis.
"It meant a lot to our country and we'd just like to acknowledge the kind gesture from our All Blacks Sevens brothers for just showing their heartfelt moment for us and our small nation of Samoa," Alosio said.
"It meant a lot for us here in Dubai and especially our small proud nation back in Samoa."
Prior to Dubai, Captain Alosio said the team was "playing with a lot of emotion."
"With one of the boys, Laaloi (Leilua) going back home to his family last weekend after his daughter getting measles and also finding out a few boys here in the team at the moment his daughter is struggling with measles as well so it's good to come out on top and Samoa this is for you," he said.
"We dedicate this victory for the families of the victims of the measles - our hearts and prayers go out to you guys, the Manu Samoa Sevens here in Dubai are going to do it for you."
Looking at the week ahead, Alosio said the team is focused and they want an improvement.
A win by the Manu Samoa Sevens in Cape Town this weekend will be a welcomed reprieve for a nation that has been devastated by the measles epidemic for nearly two months now.