Pacific / Samoa

Sport: Samoa Sevens coach praises team's resilience

15:54 pm on 16 January 2020

Samoa Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens says he's looking forward to arriving in Hamilton for the New Zealand Sevens next week, after the measles epidemic cast a shadow over the team earlier in the season.

Samoa finished fourth at the opening round of the World Sevens Series in Dubai. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Samoa made their best start to the World Sevens Series during an emotional December weekend in Dubai, which saw the team dedicate their performances to their country.

Samoa's measles epidemic claimed the lives of 83 people in Samoa, and Tietjens paid tribute to the team playing through.

"For us to perform in Dubai under all that was unbelievable really because they were really challenged mentally as a team because I think all the players in the Samoan team knew people that had been affected by the measles epidemic," he said.

"They've pulled together, they're very close, and we've worked particularly hard so we'd certainly love to have a great Hamilton tournament."

Samoa play their opening match in Hamilton against Fiji, which is sitting sixth on the ladder, just one spot ahead of the Samoans. They join Argentina and Australia in Pool D with the eventual winners going straight to semi-finals.

Tietjens is set to name his final squad to play in Hamilton Series today and said preparation had been solid with a lot of competition for a spot to play in the tournament.

"We've got players coming back from injury which is really positive and players that haven't been involved in the first two tournaments in Dubai and South Africa so them coming back strengthens us and it's quite competitive at the moment," he said.

The final squad will continue to train in Samoa and are scheduled to arrive in New Zealand next Tuesday evening.

Samoa coach Gordon Tietjens talks tactics. Photo: PHOTOSPORT