29 Feb 2016

Sport: Extended preparation a welcome change for Samoa 7s

1:26 pm on 29 February 2016

The Samoa sevens team is enjoying a longer build-up to this weekend's World Series event after arriving early in Las Vegas.

Coach Damian McGrath criticised the team's rough travel schedule for the Wellington and Sydney tournaments earlier this year.

Samoa men's sevens coach Damian McGrath.

Samoa men's sevens coach Damian McGrath. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

He said the trip to Vegas took close to 36 hours but the upside is they arrived on Saturday local time, a full week before the tournament kicks off.

"It give us a really good lead-in. We've got a fully fit, healthy squad so it's a really good way to prepare - we'll have a good week so whatever happens we can't blame our preparation for what happens in the games. I'm looking forward to having a good week with the boys ahead of playing."

And there are five new faces in the Samoan squad for the USA and Canada legs: Alamanda Motuga, Eddie Fidow, Savelio Ioane and Alex Samoa from the Auckland Marist team that won the Vailima Marist International Sevens, and New Zealand-based Tele'a Seumanutafa.

"Tele'a was someone who was one of the star players at the Central Coast Sevens in Australia before Christmas and he's a Samoan boy and New Zealand were chasing him. He opted to play for Samoa but, as is often the case, he picked up an injury and that combined with a mild dose of dengue fever sort of laid him low and we missed the opportunity to use him in Cape Town and Dubai - and Sydney and Wellington came a little bit too soon - so Tele'a is finally going to make a delayed bow for us this time."

Samoa have been drawn in the same pool as Fiji, Argentina and France in Las Vegas - a repeat of their day one opponents from the last leg in Sydney.

Tele'a Seumanutafa is one of five new caps for the Samoa sevens team in Las Vegas.

Tele'a Seumanutafa is one of five new caps for the Samoa sevens team in Las Vegas. Photo: Facebook / Bluesky Samoa

Samoa Squad:

1. Faalemiga Selsele

2. Alefosio Tapili

3. Alamanda Motuga

4. Belgium Tuatagaloa

5. Tele'a Seumanutafa

6. Savelio Ropati

7. Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa

8. Tila Mealoi

9. Alex Samoa

10. Samoa Toloa

11. Eddie Fidow

12. Tomasi Alosio