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Hamilton Sevens: Samoa Targets Fiji In Pool Opener

Tietjens made four changes to their squad with the return of former captain David Afamasaga who missed the Oceania Sevens, Dubai and Cape Town tournaments through injury, although Tomasi Alosio will continue to lead the team on the field.
22 Jan 2020 13:32
Hamilton Sevens: Samoa Targets Fiji In Pool Opener
Samoa 7s head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens

The Samoa men’s 7s team have a mission to beat the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s side in their pool opener of the New Zealand Sevens at the FMG Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday.

This is to boost their chances of topping the pool and making it to the Cup semi-finals.

“You have to win your pool,” Samoa 7s head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens told Radio New Zealand yesterday.

“So that first game against Fiji is huge for us. It’s a tough pool and I suppose it’s the work you do in between tournaments and how you turn up where you’re conditioned and you’re ready to play and I suppose preparation is everything and that would apply to Fiji and ourselves.”

The Samoans also have to face Australia and Argentina.

Tietjens made four changes to their squad with the return of former captain David Afamasaga who missed the Oceania Sevens, Dubai and Cape Town tournaments through injury, although Tomasi Alosio will continue to lead the team on the field.

Laaloi Leilua is also back, having missed the opening two legs to return home and be with his family after his daughter contracted the measles virus.

Uaina Sione is poised to make his World Series debut after recovering from an injury sustained at the Oceania Sevens last November, while Va’afauese Apelu Maliko is set to make his first appearance on the global circuit since 2018.

Tietjens said the ability to make good one-on-one tackles had been a key focus in their preparation for the weekend.

“Teams are getting punished with either yellow cards or penalties and it’s an area that we have to get better at and look to basically chop tackles so we can create opportunities,” he said.

“Defence is everything in Sevens rugby and we’re working on our systems so we’re all quite obviously clear around what our defence systems and playing against teams like Fiji, Argentina and Australia in a really tough pool are going to be key for us.

Samoa opened the World Series with a fourth-place finish in Dubai but lost all three pool games in Cape Town to slip to seventh in the overall standings.

With Hamilton also hosting an official leg of the Women’s World Series for the first time the format for the men’s competition has been revamped, with the four pool winners advancing directly to the semi finals.

Tietjens said this has added some pressure on them.

Samoan squad- Tomasi Alosio (c), Alamanda Motuga, Tofatu Solia, Joe Perez, Laaloi Leilua, Elisapeta Alofipo, David Afamasaga, John Vaili, Paulo Scanlan, Tuna Tuitama, Uaina Sione, Va’a A Maliko, Losi Filipo. .

Edited by Osea Bola

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