14 Jun 2016

Sport: Samoa 7s arrive in Monaco fit and raring to go

11:44 am on 14 June 2016

Top seeds Samoa have arrived in Monaco for this weekend's Olympic sevens repechage event, which will determine who claims the final men's qualifying place in Rio.

The Manu finished ninth on the latest World Sevens Series, which ended in London just over three weeks ago.

The team only spent a few days back home in Samoa, after experiencing a series of travel delays, before flying to Brisbane for a brief training camp en-route to Europe.

Head coach Damian McGrath said after a season plagued by injuries the team was finally fully fit, which forced him to make some tough selections.

"We had a fantastic week's training in Brisbane and everybody looked so sharp and to be able to welcome back Phoenix (Hunapo-Nofoa), who brings that x-factor and that little bit of magic is a big boost for us. It was tough because the players who ultimately missed out (Etiuefa Fiavaai and Telea Seumanutafa) deserved really to be there."

Samoa's sevens squad pose for a selfie during training.

Samoa's sevens squad pose for a selfie during training. Photo: Facebook / Manu Samoa

Damian McGrath said after a long season the team is happy to finally be in Monaco and ready to go.

"The players would like to play tomorrow if they could...The whole year has led up to this week. The last few weeks seemed to have been an eternity. The win in Paris was fantastic, we were emotionally and physically drained a little bit more than I anticipated in London and then we had the whole drama of another week to get home, with the travel issues we had," he said.

Samoa in the changing rooms after winning the Paris Sevens.

Samoa will be hoping to lift further silverware this weekend in Monaco Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

"We only had two or three days back in Samoa before we turned around to come (to Europe) again. The whole build up seems to have gone on so everybody is relieved to get here and really get down to the business of trying to qualify."

Samoa play Pacific neighbours Tonga in the opening match of the repechage tournament on Saturday and will also face Zimbabwe and Ireland in Pool A.

Canada and Russia are the other World Series core teams competing in the 16-team repechage.

Samoa squad:

Faalemiga Selesele (c), Tomasi Alosio, Siaosi Asofolau, Eddy Fidow, Phoenix Hunapo-Nofoa, Tila Mealoi, Alamanda Motuga, Savelio Ropati, Alex Samoa, Alefosio Tapili, Samoa Toloa, Belgium Tuatagaloa.