1 Mar 2017

Sport: Experienced trio make welcome return to Samoa 7s

10:26 am on 1 March 2017

Samoa coach Sir Gordon Tietjens is hoping the return of some experienced heads will inspire his team at this weekend's Las Vegas Sevens.

Former captain Faalemiga Selesele is back on the World Series, after impressing at the Brisbane Global Tens, while Afa Aiono has recovered from injury and assumes the captaincy, freeing up Tila Mealoi to focus on playing.

Alex Samoa has also forced his way into the team for the first time this season.

Samoa sevens captain Faalemiga Selesele.

Faalemiga Selesele is back on the World Sevens circuit. Photo: World Rugby / Martin Seras Lima

The Manu are a lowly 13th after the first four rounds of the World Series and Sir Gordon Tietjens said the addition of some seasoned campaigners is a timely boost.

"They've got lots of sevens experience and they're very good players and they're only 27 and 28 respectively so having them come back into the fold to work with these younger players, it's a real positive," he said.

"Faalemiga Selesele I thought last year was just simply outstanding for Samoa and for him to not be allowed to play in these first two tournaments because of a provincial team's requirements is quite tough.

"But he went away and played for Samoa in the Tens and came back and played last weekend in the [Marist Sevens] tournament for his club Moataa, and I selected him on that and he's really excited.

"Afa Aiono, who we all know is a very talented sevens players, he's been out through injury and he's just come back in," said Tietjens.

"He's also now my captain so he brings back with him a lot of experience as well.

"And Alex Samoa - another player from last year - he's into his first two tournaments," he said.

"He's also quite an acquitted sevens player, played well for Samoa last year and he's come back and raring to go."

Sir Gordon Tietjens said the team for Las Vegas and Vancouver offers more balance.

"When you've got a lot of new younger players they need those experienced players to guide them and that's why it's really really good these players have come back at the right time," he said.

"Faalemiga Selesele and Afa Aiono - they are two real leaders that will assist these younger players.

"[The younger players] they get out and have a crack, they express themselves but sometimes they're getting punished for the same errors and they need that little bit of guidance.

"So having these players on board is going to be really really good for the team."