Selesele out, Alofipo gets his chance in Vancouver

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GO THE MANU: The Manu Samoa Sevens in Vancouver. Their first game today is against Argentina (Local time: 8.14AM), then Fiji (Local Time: 12.12PM) and Wales (Local Time: 3.30 PM)

GO THE MANU: The Manu Samoa Sevens in Vancouver. Their first game today is against Argentina (Local time: 8.14AM), then Fiji (Local Time: 12.12PM) and Wales (Local Time: 3.30 PM)

It’s official. Veteran forward Faalemiga Selesele will miss the Vancouver Sevens, which is starting today.

Selesele has a shoulder injury and coach Sir Gordon Tietjens has decided to rest him. He will be replaced by newcomer, Elisapeta Alofipo.

The final Manu Samoa team comes as all 16 squads have been announced for the HSBC Canada Sevens, with a number of changes to teams ahead of round six of the world series

Damian McGrath’s Canada side go into the competition having reached the Cup quarter-finals of the HSBC USA Sevens in Las Vegas last weekend, eventually losing out to Fiji 31-12. They ended up seventh overall after a 12-5 fifth place semi-final loss to England.

However with 76,000 rugby-mad fans expected to pack out BC Place in Vancouver over the weekend, McGrath is confident of some big performances from his side.

“If the crowd can be as good this year as they were in 2016 then I think it will really lift the players again,” said McGrath. “The crowd are our eighth man on the field and I know they’ll make a difference when we need them.”

Canada will play in Pool D with New Zealand, who have made one big change to their squad by bringing in speedster Ambrose Curtis for Andrew Knewstubb who becomes head coach Scott Waldrom’s 13th man. 

Scotland have also brought back Glenn Bryce into the setup for Tom Brown, while Russia complete the pool and have brought Timur Urazakov into the starting 12. 

In Pool A, series leaders and Las Vegas champions South Africa will be without Justin Geduld, who is replaced by Stedman Gans. England, who were beaten convincingly 19-0 by New Zealand in the Cup quarter-finals in Las Vegas, make just one change with Charlton Kerr coming in for Oliver Lindsay-Hague.

Kenya’s Billy Odhiambo moves to 13th man as Oscar Ayodi starts in the named 12, while Chile give the 12 shirt to Vicente Ayarza, with Martin Raddatz moving in to replace Bernardo Moltedo.

Back-to-back series champions Fiji will be without Joeli Lutumailagi in Pool B, a player who has scored 19 tries so far this series. Santiago Gomez Cora’s Argentina remain unchanged, while Samoa are without former captain Faalemiga Selesele who is replaced by Elisapeta Alofipo. 

The big change for Wales will be the return of Cory Allen, who slots in for Morgan Williams. 

Mike Friday’s USA is unchanged after reaching the Cup semi-final in Las Vegas, where they were beaten narrowly by eventual champions South Africa, 20-17. Australia’s Sam Myers is out of the squad for Vancouver, as Tom Lucas takes over the captaincy. 

France won’t have the power of Pierre Giles Lakafia as he missed out on Vancouver, and Japan will also be without the pace of Kazuhiro Goya.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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