9 Dec 2015

Sport: Samoa sevens team struggling for numbers in Cape Town

8:56 am on 9 December 2015

The Samoa sevens team are down to nine fit players just a few days out from the start of the Cape Town leg of the World Series.

The Manu finished seventh in the season opening tournament in Dubai at the weekend and were the only team to make the Cup quarter finals that has not yet qualified for the Olympics.

Head coach Damian McGrath says they were also robbed of a place in the semi finals after officials missed an off the ball incident, which allowed New Zealand to snatch victory at the death.

Samoa finished seventh at the Dubai Sevens.

Samoa finished seventh at the Dubai Sevens. Photo: World Rugby

Fetufou Setu Laga has flown home injured after Samoa got by with just 11 fit players in Dubai, while Francis Ieremia Saufoi and Samoa Toloa are touch and go for this weekend.

"We've got a replacement coming in and a couple of our walking wounded have been unable to train this week but we're hoping they're going to be fit so I'm touching wood as I speak to you, I'm hoping that we'll have 12 fit players on the field on the weekend. It's a testament to the intensity and toughness of World Sevens now that teams struggle to keep 12 fit players throughout the tournament because, not only physically and mentally is it a tough ask, but the attrition level that comes with it really puts a demand on the players".

Damian McGrath says Samoa will face an even tougher time in the pool stage this weekend with New Zealand, France and Canada all difficult opponents.

Samoa men's sevens coach Damian McGrath.

Samoa men's sevens coach Damian McGrath. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie