Samoa look to 2007 for winning feeling

(IRB.COM) Tuesday 29 January 2013
 Samoa look to 2007 for winning feeling
Samoa celebrate their first IRB Sevens Cup success, in Wellington in 2007

They were big, muscular and powerful, capable of beating teams but not of winning tournaments. And then came their finest hour in 2007.

Samoa's inspirational playmaker Uale Mai sat injured on the sidelines as his team mates took to the field at the Westpac for the Cup final against Fiji, the favourites and reigning Series champions at the time.

What followed was a tour-de-force performance from the Samoans, which might even have laid the crucial foundations of self-belief and respect for their own World Series triumph in 2010.

Lolo Lui defied pain and pressure to orchestrate a brilliant win and coach Dicky Tafua smiled from the sidelines as Mai lifted Samoa's first IRB Sevens Cup title.

"Lolo Lui was instrumental in the side that won here in 2007," said current coach, Faamoni Lalomilo, who was watching on as a mere spectator from back home in Samoa.

"It was a great time for the side to win their first Cup and it was really special for me to see the boys performing so well from back home.

"It was a long time ago, but we call the Westpac Stadium a home away from home,  we have a lot of support and a big community here, and we are looking to use that as inspiration to win here again."

Golden Moment: Samoa's maiden Cup win - Wellington 2007

Lui, who returns to the Samoa squad for the first time this season ahead of the Hertz Sevens this weekend, was supported by Mai and the likes of Ofisa Treviranus, Simaika Mikaele and Mikaele Pesamino.

But Lalomilo believes any Samoan side is prepared to compete at the highest level.

"Lolo's return brings a lot of experience, and he has helped with our preparation," added Lalomilo.

"But as we know, any team we bring to a tournament has players that are ready. We bring experience to mix with our younger players, and we need to look to 2007 as an example."

Samoa are joined in Pool C by South Africa, Wales and Canada in arguably the toughest of the four pools, but the islanders sit fifth in the overall standings and won the Dubai Sevens title in December.

The Samoan head coach will be hoping his side can close the gap on those teams above them - New Zealand, France, Fij and South Africai - and has an extra reason for his side to perform well.

"The Series is tough, and every pool is competitive.

"But we also want a good result this weekend for the people who suffered from the cyclone back home over Christmas."

Wellington, New Zealand

Round 4
6-7 February 2015
Venue: Westpac Stadium
City: Wellington
Capacity: 36,000

Pool A
Pool B
Pool C
Pool D
  • South Africa's Philip Snyman is tackled by NZ
  • Sherwin Stowers
  • NZ Sevens - Gillies Kaka