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The Apia Maroons who had to settle for the Bowl in the inaugural TMO Marist Pago Sevens Tournament last year are setting their sights firmly on the Cup.


Like last year’s Plate winners Vaimoso, the Apia Maroons feel that they were somehow swept away from the route to the Cup competition because of silly mistakes and turnovers that their opponents immediately seized and turned into point-scoring runs.


“This year we have tightened up our plays,” said Head Coach Anae Willie Tuatagaloa. “There are also some changes in our lineup this year because of the departure of some of our players on overseas contracts. But we have a lot of young bloods to choose from and we have chosen the cream of the crop to replace them.”


He revealed that two of their players, Ionatana Tino and Davy Masoe had secured contracts to play for clubs in Australia.


He also confirmed that the national sevens team players have been released by management to play for their clubs in the Second Annual TMO Marist Pago Sevens Tourney.


 “So we are happy to have the services of our sole claim to fame in the Manu Samoa Sevens team, Lio Lolo,” said Coach Anae.


However, he revealed that they may acquire the services of Manu Samoa Sevens captain Afa Aiono because his club Marist St. Joseph is not competing.


“So we may have Afa wearing the maroon jersey in this tourney and he will no doubt be a great help up front with Lio Lolo,” he said. “We also have two players who played recently for Samoa ‘A’ and they will help boost the forwards.”


They are Tofatu and Pita Semeone.


Head Coach Anae who is assisted by assistant coach Lima Fereti Fereti pointed out that the most important thing they have to achieve is fitness and they are trying their best.


“Sevens rugby is just like boxing,” he said. “No matter how skilled you are, if you are not fit, you will not win. You see, it’s like the player who wants to win so bad have got to run and find their way to the try-line for the full 14 minutes of play.


“But equally important, is to be ready mentally,” he stressed. “Last year, we were not fit and we had jittery nerves at crucial points of the game when we should have been cool and decisive. That’s what blew it for us last year.”


Coach Anae said that they will be working on all these areas before they hop on the plane for Pago.