Tagata Pasifika

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New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Lakapi Samoa CEO says various factors to blame for World Sevens Series elimination

Photo: World Rugby
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

Financial issues and lack of experience are just some of the reasons Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i says, has lead to the elimination of Samoa from the World Sevens Series

For the first time ever, Manu Samoa sevens will not qualify for the World Sevens Series as of 2025. 

The result comes after the team failed to qualify in last weekend’s tournament in Madrid, losing to Chile, Kenya, Spain and USA.

After a disappointing 2024 season slumping to an all time low 11th place, Manu Samoa 7’s were forced to play in the promotion/relegation section of the tournament to get a chance for next year.

Speaking to local media in Samoa, Lakapi Samoa CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i believes that there are many factors that pinpoints the downfall of the sevens team this year too. 

“I guess you know, a combination of things. I think they are no easy games. All the teams are there. And I think one of the things that has always been the challenge for us is the player selection for the squad with limited players to select from,” said the CEO

“Secondly, I think also while we have an extended squad of about 25 players that we’ve got in the squad, most of them don’t have any other domestic tournaments they are part of. We know our eggs are in one basket to try and take the best available fit players to take to any tournament over the season.”

The team is not new to scrutiny, after former player of the team Elijah Niko posted online his disappointment in how some of the coaches and management treated the players and squad.

Niko described the actions of management and coaches as “poor” and “unprofessional”

“I spent more than 10,000 Euros from my own personal fund for flights and also paid more than 10,000 Euro on hotels in Samoa. During the camp in Fiji, the boys were so hungry at times so I decided to go to the supermarket and buy snacks and food for every player so they weren’t hungry” Niko said in his statement on social media.

“Watching the boys training so hard and only earning such minimal pay was heartbreaking. I urge the Samoan rugby union to please increase these Samoan sevens boys’ minimum salaries so that they could at least live reasonably whilst putting their bodies on the line for their country.”

As of now, the team can only look forward to the Olympics in the upcoming months. Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima is most likely to stay on as coach for the Olympics, before his contract expires at the end of this year.

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