Vanuatu Rugby looking to get important field time before Games
6 November, 2017.
The National Vanuatu Men’s Rugby Sevens team will this week compete in the 2017 Oceania Sevens Championships for the first time since 2010.
The team travelled to Fiji on Sunday and immediately kicked off the week with training sessions at Albert Park in Suva on Monday morning.
Before departing, Head Coach Ala Rayndol said he was pleased with the players’ preparation.
“We’ve been training for six months now. The boys are calm, they’ve been preparing well – physically, mentally and spiritually – and we are looking forward to these games.”
He acknowledged the team has a big task ahead of it given its lack of tournament experience.
“Unfortunately we don’t have international tournaments to help prepare the boys – we have local tournaments – so we’d have liked to have more international tournaments, especially ahead of the Pacific Mini Games,” he said.
Vanuatu has not participated in the regional Sevens championships for seven years and only two members of this current team have competed internationally at all.
The team captain Malau Manaroto is one of those two players, having been a part of Team Vanuatu at 2015 PNG Pacific Games. But he believes the team will try hard and benefit from the experience of the upcoming tournament.
“This is the first time to play for most of the boys and it will be a lot for them to learn, especially when they compete with other big teams like Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia, so they are looking forward to the tournament and getting experience from (playing) the higher teams,” he said.
Going from famine to feast, Vanuatu Rugby will not only compete in this week’s Oceania Championships but will also host regional opponents as part of the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila in early December.
Added to this, the team is also expecting to head back to Fiji in the New Year to take part in the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens tournament in Sigatoka, accompanied by a developing Vanuatu Women’s team.
Rayndol was quick to emphasise that this week is just the first step in assessing where the team is at and moving forward with the hope of getting more international competition.
“At the moment I really don’t know where the strength of Team Vanuatu is so we have to get into international competition so that I can see and measure out the strength of the Vanuatu team.”
The team deeply appreciated the warm farewell it received at the airport on Sunday from families and friends.
Vanuatu Rugby would also like to acknowledge it could not be on this journey in Fiji without the support of key sponsors and supporters and would like to thank Olympus USA for sponsoring the team’s jersey kits for the Oceania Sevens Championships; Mark Bryant (Aust) for sponsoring 15 sets of rugby boots and canvas for the team and Sulia Manaroto who generously sponsored the farewell dinner for the team on Saturday.
Vanuatu Team List
Malau Manaroto (C)
Stephane Tete (non-playing reserve)
Coach: Ala Rayndol
Asst Coach: Kalsavi Kalfau
Team Mgr: Claudia Pickering
Physio: Manu Kalsary
High Performance Mgr: Thomas Bruce
Team Vanuatu Fixtures, Oceania Sevens
Friday 11 November
Vanuatu v Samoa, 10.40am VUT
Vanuatu v PNG, 1.20pm VUT
Vanuatu v Tuvalu, 4.20pm VUT
Source: Vanuatu Rugby