Manu Samoa 7s head coach Muliagatele Brian Lima has named a 20-man travelling squad for the upcoming HSBC World Sevens Series.
The 7s squad is a mix of youngsters and experienced players, as well as veterans recalled.
Muliagatele has retained key players who have consistently shown finesse in the local Vodafone National 7s competition such as Va’afauese Apelu, Melani Matavao and Paul Scanlan. The veteran trio have played a combined total of 97 matches for the Samoa National 7’s team.
Coach Muliaga has also named exciting young talent for his side. Players such as Indiah Saotui-Huta, Connor Moors, Steve Remoni, Owen Fetu and Mo’omo’o Falaniko all played for the Manu Samoa Under 20’s in 2019. Indiah and Mo’omo’o are now playing their rugby in New Zealand.
Muliagatele has also brought back a few well known experienced faces into the mix, recalling players such Alefosio Tapili who has played 69 games for the Manu Samoa Sevens team, and David Afamasaga who has 126 matches under his belt for the Manu 7s.
The mix of experience, youth and household names from the previous era – will hopefully bring the Manu Samoa Sevens back onto the World Sevens map.
The last time Manu Samoa 7’s won a leg was in Paris in 2016, under head coach Damien McGrath while Muliagatele was Assistant Coach.
The glory days of Manu Samoa was ten years ago when they won the 2009-2010 World Series under head coach Masoe Steven Betham by winning four tournaments – the Hong Kong 7s, USA 7s, Adelaide 7s and the Edinburgh leg. Also that year Mikaele Pesamino won the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year and scored 56 tries. Half-back Lolo Lui scored 264 points that year and was also a nominee for 2010 Sevens Player of the Year. Star forward Alafoti Faosiliva scored 29 tries and was Samoa’s third nominee for Sevens Player of the Year.
Muliagatele Brian Lima is assisted by Tausa Faamoe Faamaoni Lalomilo, a former Manu 15s player and National 7s Head Coach. The Manager is former Samoa Chamber of Commerce President and Partner of Leota Naumati Accountants, Tuala Pat Leota.
Former professional rugby league footballer and NZ international rep Jeffrey Lima has been named Trainer for the Manu 7s. He last played for the Canberra Raiders in the NRL and for the Super League the representative prop previously played for the Wests Tigers, Melbourne Storm, South Sydney Rabitohs, Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons. Jeff also had a stint in France’s Elite One Championship for the Saint Gaudens Bears.
Veteran video analyst Harry Junior Narayan who has traveled with Samoa’s National 7s and 15s for over 10 years, will again join the management team.
The Samoa National 7s team will depart Samoa on the 1st of January 2022 for Dubai where they’ll camp until the next HSBC leg in Spain. The Spain tournament replaces the NZ-Australia legs that used to be played in Hamilton and Sydney.
SOURCE: SAMOA GLOBAL NEWS/PACNEWS