Manu Samoa 7s Head Coach, Muliagatele Brian Lima, has announced his squad to represent Samoa in the upcoming Perth 7’s Leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2023-2024 held at HBF Park Stadium this weekend 26th to 28th January 2024.
Returning to the squad are two local stars who sustained injuries last season. Uaina Sione of Tama Uli and Neueli Leitufia of Laulii were both on form when their 2022-2023 seasons ended prematurely.
Power Lock Uaina Sione has returned from a full anterior cruciate knee reconstruction, an injury that put him out for over six months.
Sione eased into returning from injury, and was selected as Vice Captain of the MS7s squad who represented Samoa at the Pacific Games. He will look to disrupt opposition attack with his aggressiveness in the rucks and high work rate in his return to HSBC SVNS.
Another exciting return from injury is the smallest man in the squad with one of the highest bench press scores. Neueli Leitufia underwent surgery after suffering a broken wrist sustained in the match against Australia during the last leg of the season in London.
Neueli was on fire and in-form when ruled out in London after a Day 1 of Samoa defeating France, Australia and Spain in the pool matches.
Also exciting for fans is the return of Melani Matavao, who has made himself available for the Perth leg, on route to joining the Moana Pasifika next week as injury cover for the Super Rugby season.
The former long-serving Co-Captain of MS7s will play alongside named Captain for Perth – Vaovasa Afa-Sua. At 32 years young, Afa-Sua has proven that age is just a number in sports conditioning. Veteran speedster Paul Scanlan has been named as Vice Captain.
One debutant has been named in the side – Tom Maiava from New Zealand, who had moved back to Samoa last year with the aim of making the squad. Hailing from Salailua Savaii and Sinamoga, he has played club rugby with Marist St Joseph’s since moving to Samoa.
Samoa is in a next level pool of death. Pool C, alongside Fiji, New Zealand and France, the boys in blue will kick off their campaign on Friday 26th at 7:38pm against Fiji.
Manu Samoa 7s squad: