18 Jun 2016

Sport: Samoa and Tonga's Olympic 7s hopes on the line

11:08 am on 18 June 2016

After months of preparation, D-day has arrived for Samoa and Tonga in their bid to qualify for the Olympic men's sevens competition.

The Polynesian rivals go head to head in tonight's opening game of the tournament in Monaco and are among 16 teams competing for the final berth in Rio.

Samoa are the tournament's top seeds after finishing ninth on the recent World Series, including victory in the Paris leg.

Manu head coach Damian McGrath has a full-strength line-up on hand and says after all the planning it's time to deliver.

"In theory on paper we're one of the favourites. There's always that chance that you could slip: one mistake, one error that could cost you dearly."

"It really is sudden dealth and we need to bring our A-game and we can't afford to make any mistakes...we're in the toughest group but certainly I think other teams will be more wary of us than we are of them. We won't take anybody lightly but we know what we need to do," he said.

Tonga's last major hit-out was a quarter final exit at the World Series qualifier in Hong Kong in April.

But the Kingdom have added some overseas-based stars to their squad, including former Wallabies international Cooper Vuna.

Zimbabwe and Ireland are also in Pool A, with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the knockout rounds on Sunday.