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.
Vanuatu Team List
Malau Manaroto (C)
Coach: Ala Rayndol