After a 5am training session at the Samoa Weightlifting Federation’s High Performace Unit, the Manu Samoa 7s boys take a dip before their 11am session.
The team departs for Auckland this week in preparation for the next two legs of the HSBC Rugby World 7s Series: Los Angeles, USA and Van Couver, Canada.
After five HSBC tournaments and six to go in the 2022-2023 world series, Samoa are currently ranked 3rd place.
In LA, Samoa are pooled with Sydney Champs New Zealand, as well as USA and Chile in the upcoming Los Angeles 7s scheduled for next weekend, Friday 24 to Sunday 26 February 2023.
The Manu 7s will miss power forward Uaina Sione, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Sydney. Sione is recovering well after knee reconstructive surgery in Auckland where he will stay for up to a month to get quality rehab with the hope of returning next season.
Slippery halfback Neueli Leitufia and power forward Motu Opetai, both handed three match bans are now good to go. They both missed out on Samoa’s 5th place final in Sydney against Ireland, and they’ve also both missed out on the last two weeks of club rugby in Samoa, making up the three weeks.
The 5’4″ 65-kg halfback and smallest man on the paddock for the Manu Samoa was underestimated by Aussie Stu Dunbar who ran right into Leitufia during the 5th place playoffs in Sydney.
Leitufia was issued with a red card for a dump tackle on the Australian, but the writer says Stu Dunbar should have been cited for allowing the smallest man in the competition to lift him off the ground 😂😂.
The travelling team has not yet been named but there were a few injuries after Hamilton and Sydney including speedster Steve Rimoni Onosai who is still recovering from an ankle injury.
Co-Captain Vaovasa Afa-Su’a and the 21 year old with the boot who kicked us into Capetown Champs, Faafoi Falaniko, were also being assessed by the physios and medical team.
The Samoan community and diaspora in Los Angeles and across the USA are posting excited messages on social media, eager to welcome the Manu back to California.
All the best to the Manu Samoa 7s for the upcoming legs of the world series.