Sevens squad in tough draw

Wednesday March 14, 2018 Written by Published in Rugby Union
Sevens teammates Patella Tou (left) and Franco Smith during a training session at FR Gym. 18031317 Sevens teammates Patella Tou (left) and Franco Smith during a training session at FR Gym. 18031317

The Cook Islands Sevens side is placed with Ireland, Uruguay and Jamaica in Pool G of the Hong Kong Sevens to be held early next month.

 

The national side, which is the least-seeded team in the group, will face a tough battle in the pool play to make it through to the knockout stage.

Coach Vase Samania said they should not be expecting too much from the team, as they were making a return to the top-level competition after a lapse of some years.

He said with Sevens now an Olympic sport, participating nations were putting a lot of money and resources into strengthening their teams for international events such as the Hong Kong Sevens.

“Most of these teams playing in the Hong Kong Sevens have been around the circuit for a while. You can’t take these teams easily,” Samania, the former national skipper, said.

“I believe most of these countries’ governments are also putting in lot of money because Sevens rugby is now one of the biggest attractions in terms of sports, and if they get a chance to host a leg it would mean a lot to them and their economy.

“For us, we will go there and do the best we can. We want to win like everybody else but we have to be realistic about our chances.”

Samania named his final 12-member team earlier this month. The team is dominated by the Rarotonga-based players.

In the forwards, he named Teina Savage (Tupapa), Patella Tou (Arorangi), James Kora (Tupapa), Teu Paerau (Aitutaki), Mata Matapakia (Tupapa) and Franco Smith (Arorangi).

Captain Stephen Willis of Arorangi will lead the halves, alongside Junior Napara (Mangere East Hawks) and Jason Potoru (Tupapa).

The backline will have Longo Leuta (Titikaveka), Junior Kiria (Papatoetoe) and James Iopu Johnston (Papatoetoe).

Chedyn Mani, Thomas Potoru and Bruce Goldsworthy were included in the non-travelling reserves.

The Hong Kong Sevens will be held from April 6-8.

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