10 Nov 2016

Sport: Samoa women focused on development at Oceania 7s

9:55 am on 10 November 2016

Samoa do not expect to be among the contenders at the Oceania Women's Sevens Championship, which kicks off in Suva tomorrow.

The Manusina 7s were runners-up at last year's tournament in Auckland, thrashed 55-0 by Fiji in the final.

That qualified them for the final Olympic repechage event in Dublin, where they finished in seventh place.

The Manusina finished in a share of 7th place at the Dublin Sevens.

The Manusina finished in a share of 7th place at the Dublin Sevens. Photo: World Rugby

Team Manager Shalom Senara said since then the focus has been all about development.

"In the islands itself we're trying to develop the schools and the girls academy in Samoa, and also we've got the big base of New Zealand Samoan girls based in New Zealand and also in Australia," he said.

"So this team to Suva is 100 percent local girls. It's basically a developing stage. A lot of these girls the average age of our team is 19/20 year old girls and it's more, to be realistic with you, more a developing thing.

"Some of these girls in our team have never been on an aircraft before. For us it's more for them to see the different standard of international sevens and just have a new taste of what's expected of them to get to this high level."

All seven women's teams will play each other during the round robin phase, with the top two finishers, excluding World Series core teams Australia and Fiji, earning a spot at the Sydney Sevens and World Series qualifying tournament in Hong Kong next year.

"We're going to be playing against Australia, obviously - the gold medallists - and the Fijiana and if I was to be realistic these girls are on a much higher level of rugby at the moment, that have been playing a much higher level and are used to playing at a really high level.

"Realistically, playing against those teams, like I've always say to the girls just all we can ask from these girls is to give it their best."