Manu Sevens woes and why they need to perform in Singapore

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Well there you have it Samoa. The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.), Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, has come out calling for members of the public to bear with the Union as they work to improve the results of the Manu Samoa Sevens – and in a way rugby teams in general.

That said, we want to first and foremost congratulate members of the Samoa U18 team that took part in the Oceania Sevens Championships in Sydney, Australia, last week. 

Their performance was something to be extremely proud of. 

Although they just fell at the last hurdle against Australia missing the opportunity to compete in the Youth Olympics, it must be said that their efforts were far more uplifting than what we’ve seen from the Manu Samoa Sevens so far. 

The best part is that these boys are the future of the national sevens programme. Given the right coaching and a proper pathway to develop, they can become great assets for Samoan rugby and the Samoa Rugby Union must do everything in its power to try and keep them. 

These  players, if they are nurtured properly, could potentially turn our fortunes around in a few years time. We badly need it looking at what is happening today. 

At a lowly 12th place ranking on the H.S.B.C. Sevens Series, this weekend in Singapore will be a defining tournament for coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and his men. We don’t need to tell you how disappointing their performances have been so far.

Suffice to say, as hard as Faleomavaega and the S.R.U. are trying to remain optimistic, even they are running out of patience.  Earlier this week, the Chief Executive Officer has demanded a better performance from the team in Singapore.

 “I think everyone is well aware of the feeling of where the team is at right now with their results,” he said. “The Samoa Rugby Union is doing everything they can in supporting their campaign. 

“Right now we are pretty much trying everything we can to turn things around for our team and the competition itself is getting tougher.

“We have given them everything they have asked for, especially by contracting players. We all feel the same thing about our Manu Samoa Sevens, but Samoa Rugby Union is still assisting the team with their preparations.”

To be fair to the team, Faleomavaega said injuries among the players have not helped.

“We have also been struck with first choice players facing injuries and that is why Sir Gordon has been changing our team quite a lot since the beginning.”

As for criticisms of Sir Gordon Tietjen’s performance so far, Faleomavaega says there’s a procedure to follow.

“There’s still a process that the Samoa Rugby Union is following about the contract with the Manu Samoa Sevens Coach,” he said. 

“There will be a review and evaluation to be done after the series, but at the moment we can’t operate that because the series is still in process.

“Results are something no one can tap into. It all comes down to the performance by the players and the coach as well is already aware of the pressure and expectations from our country as well as the Samoa Rugby Union.

“But after the H.S.B.C Sevens Series in process at the moment and the Sevens World Cup in July, then we will have the review for Sir Gordon. 

“We’ve had mixed results so far up and down from our team and we can’t quite put our finger on it.

“The Union has also been consulting the players about any issues within the team and we are not taking the matter lightly.

“We’re very concerned especially because we are in 12th place of the H.S.B.C. World Sevens Series, so we are hoping for things to turn around pretty much quickly.”

Okay then, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and pray that somehow, somewhere they can prove to us this weekend they can play and play well. We wish them all the best but please don’t hold your breath.

Have a peaceful weekend Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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