Re­al­ity check for McGrath, Samoa

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Samoa 7s rugby coach Damian McGrath knows how tough to be com­pet­i­tive on the World Sevens Se­ries. A week af­ter their stun­ning vic­tory in Paris, the Manu man­aged just one win in five matches at the Lon­don 7s. Samoa fin­ished bot­tom of their pool on day one and, af­ter hold­ing off Rus­sia 22-17 in the bowl quar­ter fi­nals, were beaten 22-21 by Aus­tralia in the semi­fi­nals. “A lot of teams were leg-weary and I found it hard to get up,”McGrath told World Rugby. “We were emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally drained I think from the week be­fore. I didn’t re­alise just how much it had taken out of us un­til we started play­ing. Three of the de­feats we had were by the odd point - one score. But we were the ar­chi­tects of ajor spon­sors Voda­fone la­beled the back- to-back win of the World Sevens Se­ries ti­tle by the Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s team in Lon­don as colos­sal.

Voda­fone Fiji chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Pradeep Lal said: “It’s awe­some, its mag­nif­i­cent it’s an ab­so­lutely fan­tas­tic feel­ing for our team to fin­ish on top of the World Sevens Se­ries for 2016.” “The team has proven for the two years in a row that Fiji are the King of 7s.

“We con­grat­u­late all the play­ers for their con­tri­bu­tion, sac­ri­fice and ded­i­ca­tion through­out the season for the glory they have be­stowed on our tiny na­tion. “We also ac­knowl­edge the mas­ter tac­ti­cian and coach Ben Ryan, team man­age­ment and the sup­port staff for their con­tri­bu­tion.

“It has all come to fruition with the suc­cess­ful de­fence of the se­ries ti­tle. The team has cer­tainly punched above its weight and de­liv­ered a very con­sis­tent per­for­mance through­out the season to come out vic­to­ri­ous in our own down­fall in those games - we could and should have done much bet­ter. The plus-side for me was that we took a gam­ble and played with them and they didn’t the end.

A vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion is planned upon re­turn of the team on to­mor­row where the play­ers are ex­pected to be re­warded with se­ries win­ning bonus and other prizes.

The fans will also be in­vited to join in the cel­e­bra­tions.

Voda­fone, FRU plan party Voda­fone and the Fiji Rugby Union or­gan­ise cel­e­bra­tion when the team re­turns on Wed­nes­day. The team ar­rives on Wed­nes­day morn­ing at the Nadi In­ter­na­tional Air­port and fly straight to Nau­sori In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The team will then be hosted to a func­tion at the Voda­fone head­quar­ters in Ta­mavua af­ter which they will be at Suva’s Ratu Sukuna Park where the main cel­e­bra­tions take place.

Play­ers will be given their cash bonuses and prizes at the cel­e­bra­tions.

Fiji won the se­ries with 181 points while South Africa fin­ished sec­ond with 171 points. Edited by Filipe Naigulevu

We were emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally drained I think from the week be­fore. I didn’t re­alise just how much it had taken out of us un­til we started play­ing. Three of the de­feats we had were by the odd point - one score. Damian McGrath Samoa 7s rugby coach

make them any worse so we’re go­ing home with an al­most fully-fit squad. which is a big plus con­sid­er­ing our big­ger prize is a few weeks away in the Olympics repechage in June.” Mean­while, McGrath says Se­le­sele’s se­lec­tion in the Dream Team of the Se­ries is richly de­served. The oth­ers are Osea Kolin­isau, Jasa Vere­malua, Vir­imi Vakatawa, Se­abelo Se­natla, Kwagga Smith and Perry Baker. “With play­ers like that why shouldn’t we be con­fi­dent (about qual­i­fy­ing for Rio next month)? They’ve worked hard...The Fiji team they beat in the fi­nal in Paris was Fiji’s all-star team - it was their best of the best - so if we can beat teams like that why should we be wor­ried if we can’t get some of our 15 stars in there? These boys have proved they can match it with the best.” Olympic repechage set for Monaco, Dublin The fi­nal World Rugby sevens qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the Rio Olympics will be held in Monaco and Dublin next month. The Stade Louis II in Monaco will host the men’s tour­na­ment on June 18-9, 2016 while Dublin’s UCD Bowl will host the women’s repechage a week later on June 25-26. A to­tal of 16 men’s teams will com­pete in Monaco for the one re­main­ing place and they are: Uruguay, Chile, Canada, Mex­ico, Spain, Rus­sia, Ger­many, Ire­land, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Samoa, Zim­babwe, Morocco and Tunisia. The win­ner will join Fiji, South Africa, New Zealand, Great Bri­tain, Argentina, USA, France, Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, Kenya and hosts Brazil at Rio 2016. Edited by Filipe Naigulevu

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