Rugby World Cup Sevens

Fresh faces poised to lead Western Samoa challenge

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 March, 1998, 12:00am

Western Samoa will be relying on an untested squad of players when they attempt to win their first Hong Kong Sevens title since 1993 at this month's tournament.

The Samoans are without star names such as Brian Lima, Junior Paramore and Va'aiga Tuigamala for the March 27-29 tournament.

Only two of the 10-man squad revealed yesterday - Semo Sititi and Toa Samania - played for Samoa in last year's Rugby World Cup Sevens competition.

Tuigamala is ruled out through professional commitments with title-chasing English club side Newcastle, while Lima has been plying his trade in the Super 12 with Auckland.

Other notables missing from the ranks this year are long-serving stalwart Rudolf Moors and the talented Afato So'alo. Coach Niko Palamo remains at the helm for the Samoans. Samoa are grouped with Tonga, Morocco and China in Pool D and are currently in the Fiji Sevens.

Professional commitments have also deprived Canada of two of their long-serving sevens specialists. Captain and scrum-half John Graf, who plays in Wales with Bridgend, will miss the tournament, along with flying winger Winston Stanley.

Canada feature three survivors - Gregor Dixon, Ron Toews and Jason Hartley - from the squad who struggled at last year's World Cup.

Argentina are without talented playmaker Lisandro Arbizu, who has been playing in France with Brive during the past season. The Pumas, who are in Pool C alongside favourites Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Taiwan, are also bringing a new-look squad to Hong Kong.




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