Manu Samoa 7’s will undergo their first round of trials this week on Thursday 14th and Friday 15th January as advised in a release outlining the 2-day schedule of matches.
Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima has split-up the 46 players into four teams to play each other twice, over the two days. Once on Thursday, and again on Friday.
According to Muliagatele, a second round of trials will be played again next week, to create a scenario similar to the HSBC World Sevens Series, where teams have to play for two consecutive weekends.
“Trials will run for two weeks to allow the management to test if players can cope with mental toughness and fatigue and also discipline. It will give us a chance to select the most consistent 24 man squad,” said the Head Coach.
The extended squad has been back in training since the new year. When asked by Samoa Global News what his expectations are for these trials, Muliaga said fitness, clarity of roles and mental toughness.
“We’re expecting good fitness levels from all players and we will be looking at how they cope mentally, especially on the second day..
“We also expect them to understand their roles during play,” said the 7s Head Coach.
Muliagatele and Assistant Coach Tausā Faamaoni Lalomilo took over the Manu Samoa 7’s coaching roles from Sir Gordon Tietjens in August 2020.
Asked what the biggest challenge has been since taking over, Muliagatele says attitude towards training by some players has been something he and his management have had to address.
“The biggest challenge for us so far is dealing with players’ attitudes toward trainings, but we are currently working on improving this by changing their mindsets and habits.”
A plethora of young and new talent have been introduced into the Manu 7’s system this year and the two-day trial held over two consecutive weeks, will see Samoa’s best 7’s players on display.
Muliagatele has expressed an excitement to see how a few of the new talents perform during the two-week trial process.
“There’s quite a few to mention; Theodore McFarland, Steve Rimoni, Faafoi Falaniko, Owen Fetu, Malo Luteru and Mark Tusigaigoa.. just to name a few,” says the 7s Head Coach
Notably not included in the trial teams are Manu 7’s veterans Elisapeta Alofipo and Joe Perez along with Samoa’s track start Kelvin Masoe and Champ of Champs 2019 100m star Pesamino Iakopo.
Muliaga says he named all four players in his wider squad last year, but the four players have not responded to the call to represent their country.
“Kelvin Masoe and Elisapeta Alofipo, they never turned up to training right from the start, same as Pesamino Iakopo..
“Joe Perez did join us at the beginning, but he stopped turning up after the Lakapi Championship competition…
“Tausā and I visited his (Joe Perez) home and his mother said she would tell him to come to training, but he hasn’t been back,” said Muliaga.
Joe Perez started every match of the Lakapi Championship on the wing for Manono. Elisapeta Alofipo and Kelvin Masoe were also played for Savaii during Lakapi Championship.
The National 7’s Trials will be broadcast live from Apia Park on TV3, Thursday 14th and Friday 15th January from 9.30am to 1.00pm.
Schedule of Matches