Muliagatele Makes Just One Change to 14-Man Squad for Hamilton-Sydney Legs of HSBC 2022/23


Manu Samoa Sevens Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Limā has named his 14-man squad for the upcoming Hamilton and Sydney legs of the HSBC World 7s Series.

The Head Coach has retained the same team who travelled to South Africa and returned with the Championship trophy, with the exception of Skipper Melani Matavao who from injury, forcing Pelosi “Jimmy” Taupo to miss out.

The forward trio of Uaina Sione, and Co-Captains Vaovasa Afa-Su’a and Vaafauese Apelu-Maliko all return. They are joined by 21-year-old power forwards Motu Opetai and Taunuu Niulevaea who have both started 8 and 5 matches respectively this season. Levi Milford, at 6’2″ and also 21, makes up the sixth forward named in the squad.

Taunuu Niulevaea will celebrate his 22nd birthday on the first day of the Hamilton 7s, this Saturday 21st January.

Co-Captain Melani Matavao returns from a head injury to lead the backline. He is joined by Paul Scanlan and Steve Rimoni Onosai, who have both fully recovered from injuries sustained in South Africa which prevented them from playing the Cup Final in Cape Town.

Muliagatele has built good depth in his backline with wingers Tuna Tuitama and Owen Niue, as well as Neueli Leitufia, Faafoi Falaniko and Paul Eti Slater providing many options and combinations.

Samoa heads into this 4th leg of the HSBC 2022-23 World Series on Top of the Points Table. The Manu are pooled with Pacific cousins Fiji who are in 5th place and France currently placed 7th.

Samoa will also face 14th placed Kenya, currently being Coached by former Manu Samoa 7s Head Coach, Damien McGrath.

The Hamilton 7s is a 2-day tournament on 21-22 January followed by the Sydney 7s held the following weekend over three days, 27-29 January.

Daniel M Limā