Samoa aiming high for IRB Sevens

The Samoan sevens side is determined to overcome its traditional weak start in the latest International Rugby Board World Series to improve on the third place it has claimed in the last two seasons.

The new series gets under way on Friday in Dubai, followed by the second round in George, South Africa and the Samoans want to start with a strong performance.

“We usually start slow in the opening of the IRB circuit, before we start firing on all eight cylinders later on in the circuit,” captain Uale Mai said before the team left for Dubai.

“But to achieve our goal, we have to start well in the Dubai and George sevens,” he said.

Coach Galumalemana Rudolf Moors said the return of some experienced players who were unavailable last season should ensure a stronger showing.

“I think this year will be different for our team, because we have our quality players back,” he said.

“Last year we had a lot of injured players and some were on contract, and they have returned.”

Samoa won the London sevens tournament earlier this year with a victory over traditional Pacific rivals Fiji, but is hoping to see off some of the other heavyweights, especially New Zealand, which has won all but one of the series since the debut season in 1999-2001.

Proven performer Mark Tanuvasa is back after injury kept him out of the team for the previous three seasons.

Galumalemana said Tanuvasa should prove a potent combination with fellow veterans Mai and Lolo Lui.

The return of winger Mikaele Pesamino this season is expected to add some needed try-scoring power to the team.

Sapa-AFP –

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