Manu Samoa Sevens released from quarantine
The Manu Samoa 7s team was released at 11 am on Thursday after fourteen days' quarantine at the Moanalisa Hotel in Vaitele-Tai.
The Manu Samoa 7s head coach, Muliagatele Brian Lima, told the Samoa Observer on Thursday that while the team didn't get the desired result to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics they are thankful for the support.
“We thank our heavenly father above for his guidance and protection, and we also thank the people of Samoa for their love and support. Even though we did not get the desired result of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics this year," Muliagatele said.
"We had to undergo three testings which all came out negative, and I am really glad none of us got infected when we went for the repechage tournament in Monaco last month.
"We were able to return home after the National Emergency and Operations Center gave the official o.k that we can get back into the country."
Failure by the team to comply with the Samoan Government's own requirements to prove they do not present a COVID-19 risk led to the team getting stranded in Dubai, United Arab Emirates earlier this month staring down the barrel of a possible weeks-long wait until the next flight to Auckland.
The team's captain, Meilani Matavao, said the team was thankful for the team to have been returned home. World Rugby intervened and promised to come to the stranded team's aid after news of their stranding broke.
"I really want to thank and show appreciation to our people and the Manu 7s fans who supported us and posted words of encouragement on social media although we were unsuccessful with our campaign in the sevens Olympic qualifier," he said.
"When we were stranded in Dubai, we were unsure whether we were going to return to Samoa any time soon, but now I'm just thankful we're finally back home."
Tepatasi Rugby Club player and winger for the Manu Samoa Sevens, Fa'afo'i Falaniko is also glad to be back home.
"I really missed my family and my parents here at home when we were overseas. Seeing them on online video calls and talking with them is not the same as seeing them in person. I just can't wait to eat Samoan food again," he said with a smile.
Coach Muliagatele also stated that they will resume training on Tuesday as they prepare for the first two legs of the H.S.B.C. Sevens World circuit in Canada which will kick off in September:
"We have to perform now and get a good ranking in this year's HSBC series, because in the previous season we were ranked 13th overall, which is not something we're proud of," he said.
"We really have to work hard in training if we're aiming to have a good season this year".