Manusina sevens focused: coach

Manusina sevens coach Auimatagi Sapani Pomare says his team's training is on track despite looming uncertainty about whether the team will compete in a planned qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games. 

"Our preparations and training at the moment are on track, there are improvements being made if you compared to the beginning of their training,” he said. 

“Right now the level that we wanted the ladies to aim for, they are getting up to it especially in terms of their fitness. 

“After our trials, we started working on their fitness and their skills. In Samoa right now, there is no tournament that can make these girls play together as a squad. 

“The only thing we are eyeing is the repechage that is if it happens, and it is in June.”

The repechage tournament is a chance for teams that have not automatically qualified for the Olympics to do so by winning a pre-Cup tournament. 

But doubts remain about whether it will take place. 

The coach said the team was taking a broad approach to their preparations in light of the uncertainty. 

"At this time, we are focusing on both - fitness and skills. From the start of this program, we planned that by the time for the tournament that the teams are training for and they already are good in both, not only for their fitness level but also the level of skills that they need to have in order to perform the game inside the field,” he said. 

“We have seen the girls in their best performance even though there are some areas that need to be improved but I'm happy that they have changed. If you had watched and kept an eye on the ladies selected in this squad during that seven you will see that they were the best performers during the Marist sevens.”

The women selected into the Manusina squad were released to play in their own clubs during the Marist International sevens tournament last week. 

But they are still continuing to train for the Olympic qualifiers as a squad despite the uncertainty hanging over the cup qualifications.

“We have put out our master plan: there are games that will be held in New Zealand that they can play against teams from New Zealand called "pre-comp", which will prepare them for the Repechage. So if they get to play two or three games that would be great, because that is where they'll know the level they are in," he said.

"My plan is to continue on with our routine especially with our training norms. But what excites me now is that we have our own trainer, I no longer have to multitask. For fitness training, we have a trainer to deal with it but for me and our assistant coach, we will work on the rugby side of the event."

• The original of this story reported that the Manusina sevens were eyeing a spot in the World Cup. That is incorrect the Manusina sevens team are vying for a spot in the Olympic Games.

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