The Manu Samoa 7s team will not be part of the World Sevens Series core competition after failing to make the top four of the promotion-relegation tournament in Madrid last weekend.

Samoa will enter the regional qualification pathway for the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger 2025 as a losing team.

This is not the result Lakapi Samoa had wanted. The team lost all their matches, three pool games and then the play-off against the USA.

This is even after the inclusion of senior players.

Lakapi Samoa chief executive officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai told Samoa Observer before Madrid 7s that they do not want to be relegated.

Despite a strong start in the first tournament of the 2023/2024 season, Samoa was unable to make a big impact in the World Sevens Series this year.

Well before, the team flew out to Spain for the decider, Lakapi knew the predicament they were in and according to the CEO the team was preparing well.

“We’ve had some reinforcement in terms of some senior players who have been away and also coming in to help us out and also looking towards the Olympics. But the focus is definitely there,” said Faleomavaega.

“And the players are well aware of the opportunity to perform and try and get us out the hole in the job itself to try and stay in the competition.”

But this did not happen. Instead the team now has to play in a regional competition, win that and then become part of the Challenger Series.

To climb back to the core series, Samoa will also need to finish in the top four of the Challenger series and then in the top four of the next promotion-relegation.

According to Lakapi Samoa, money woes and the unavailability of a large selection pool have been the main hindrance in making a top-notch team.

“I guess you know, a combination of things. I think they are no easy games. All the teams are there. And I think one of the things that has always been the challenge for us is the player selection for the squad with limited players to select from,” said the CEO

“Secondly, I think also while we have an extended squad of about 25 players that we’ve got in the squad, most of them don’t have any other domestic tournaments they are part of.

“We don’t have the funding to get them out to an event like we did earlier in the start of the season when we took the two squads to Fiji and the other one went to Oceania. We know our eggs are in one basket to try and take the best available of available fit players to take to any tournament over the season.”

Faleomavaega said there were no easy games in sevens anymore and all teams had picked up a notch.

There have been suggestions that contracting the players would change the game, Faleomavaega believes this is not the case.

“We’ve had players under contracts before and it’s been very difficult if we had stuck to a professional contract, we wouldn’t have achieved what we have done now,” he said.

“One of the issues that we have with the local players is that they think they are professional but they’re not. If we put a contract in front of them. There are so many things that we’ve done before.

“It doesn’t mean that the contract we will pay them less money. We’re still paying the same but without contracts. In fact, they’re getting more money now.

Lakapi Samoa will not be changing the coach as well. It is most likely that Muliagatele Fata Brian Lima will stay on until after the Olympic Games, which is less than two months away.

Muliagatele’s contract comes to an end this year.