30 Jan 2016

Sport: Fiji and Samoa get ready for Sevens

10:19 am on 30 January 2016

The Fiji sevens team are determined to banish some bad memories from last year's Wellington tournament.

The World Series leaders haven't won in New Zealand's capital since 2010 and last year had to settle for fifth place after losing to England in the Cup quarter finals.

Head coach Ben Ryan has won twice in Wellington with England and is hoping it will be a case of third time lucky during his time with Fiji.

"Wellington's probably been our most disappointing. Last year the quarter final exit in extra-time with England, with our two best players, [Semi] Kunatani and [Osea] Kolinisau, sitting in the stands, being banned for that game, was a killer. But after that we went on an 18-game winning run and that effectively won us the world title so I don't really want to learn a nasty lesson again in Wellington, it would be nice to win it here."

First up for Fiji today is the Japan.

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan

Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan Photo: Supplied

Samoa are desperate to put on an improved showing at the Wellington Sevens but start this weekend's event as something of an outsider.

The Manu reached the Cup quarter finals in Dubai before slumping to a 13th place finish in Cape Town at the end of last year.

They're missing four key players through injury this weekend but experienced campaigners Tom Iosefo and Tomasi Alosio will feature for the first time this season.

Coach Damian McGrath said they want to put on a better showing for their supporters back home but admits just getting out of their group will be a challenge, with France, the United States and England all ranked above them.

"All three will be vying for top spot in our group - we seem to have been forgotten there - but it's a good litmus test for us to see where we are in terms of our journey. I'd willingly give up this year's series if I could guarantee a space at the Olympics and take the country there, that would be fantastic, but we don't think we will be too far away from any of those three teams and whilst we're not confident of saying we're going to win the tournament we really are confident of putting on good performances."

Samoa open their campaign against the USA.

Samoa men's sevens coach Damian McGrath.

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