Pesamino misses Sevens for Samoa
Defending champions Samoa will be missing 2010 IRB Player of the Year Mikaele Pesamino in their bid to retain the Cathay Pacific/Credit Suisse Hong Kong Sevens next weekend.
Pesamino, the leading try-scorer in the IRB Sevens World Series last season, is on the non-travelling reserves list, suggesting he is being kept in cotton wool for the 15s World Cup later this year.
Apart from Pesamino, sevens coach Stephen Betham will have a full-strength squad at his side, including playmaker Uale Mai and the influential duo of Lolo Lui and Ofisa Treviranus, who played a huge part in last year's 24-21 win over New Zealand in the Cup final.
Tom Iosefo will replace Pesamino as Samoa come up against Scotland, Tonga and debutants Mexico in the preliminary rounds at the Hong Kong Stadium. The only new face to the squad is Fale Sooialo.
Samoa are level with Fiji in third place in the IRB Sevens standings on 64 points - 16 behind joint leaders England and New Zealand.
Fiji, meanwhile, have recalled four players, including French-based duo Setefano Cakau and Osea Kolinisau, for their bid to win an 11th Hong Kong Sevens title (they also won the Sevens World Cups here in 1997 and 2005). The other two former stars who have been brought back are Army skipper Dale Tonawai and David Batiratu, with the Fiji selectors believing experience and speed can land the US$100,000 prize money for the Cup winners.
'Most of these players have been to Hong Kong and know what it's all about. They need to have a positive mindset and stay focussed on the job,' coach Iliesa Tanivula told the Fiji Times.
'The return of the old hands will lift the game to another level,' he said. 'I have also taken the captaincy away from Vucago so as to ease his responsibilities and workload.'
Fiji have a relatively easy preliminary round, being drawn with Kenya, Russia and Malaysia.