Sport: Samoa 7s told to stay away from Christmas treats

Sir Gordon Tietjens expects the Samoan sevens team to resist the temptation to over-indulge during the holiday period.

The Manu 7s are 10th after the Dubai and Cape Town legs of the World Series, having twice been denied a place in the Cup quarter finals on points differential.

Samoa captain David Afamasaga tests the Zimbabwe defence in Cape Town. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

The global circuit resumes in Hamilton in little over five weeks and Sir Gordon, who is renowned for his demanding fitness sessions and strict watch on players‘ diets, said the players can‘t afford to slack off.

“Challenging times ahead of course with the New Year festivities and obviously Christmas,” he said.

“We don‘t get a lot of time off, to be fair. They‘ll have those days off – the New Year‘s Day and Christmas Day, Boxing Day but outside that they‘ve still got to work and that‘s where it is,” he said.

“They‘ve just got to keep working because Hamilton‘s going to come around so so quickly and we just can‘t afford them to lose that edge to where they‘re at right now at this time around conditioning because it‘s so so important.”

Samoa Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens. Photo: AFP

Samoa won‘t have it easy in Hamilton, having been draw in the same pool as World Series leaders the United States, England and Tonga, but Sir Gordon insisted the team‘s victory over the All Blacks Sevens in Cape Town showed what they are capable of and said they should approach any opponent with confidence.

“Yeah I saw on of the pools that I certainly wouldn‘t have minded being in but it isn‘t to be and of course we‘ve got to have that real belief that we can go out and beat England and the USA and Tonga,” he said.

“That‘s our goal is to get to the quarter final and nothing is going to change around that. We‘re going to work tremendously hard to get up and compete and be in the top two in that pool so we can push to a Cup quarter final and that‘s our goal.”

The top four ranked countries at the end of the current World Series will earn automatic qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Samoa celebrates winning the Challenge Trophy at the Dubai Sevens. Photo: Mike Lee – KLC fotos for World Rugby

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