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The Samoan Conundrum sounds like an international book thriller from John Grisham or Graham Greene, but in the world of 7s rugby, it refers to the current low, ninth place standings of a former giant in the HSBC tournament. In the first four events this year, the team garnered 19-2-2 points, a dismal result for a perennial contender.
Samoa rank fifth overall in total points during the fifteen seasons of the sevens circuit. Their past ten seasons’ standings (including the current one) are as follows:
2008/09 Out of top 5
2014/15 Out of top 5
After a good start in Australia, Samoa collapsed, especially, in South Africa and Wellington. They hope to rebound in Las Vegas where they will welcome the annual, large crowd of Samoans living in the US who come regularly to cheer on the team.
Possible Olympic Repercussions
The probability is slim that Samoa can recover in the five remaining tournaments to advance into one of the top four qualifying nations for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. If not, they will compete in the Oceania Qualifier. But here’s the rub, if Australia do not make the top four (Currently, New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia), say, losing the spot to England, then they also will have to face Samoa in that Oceania qualifier. The loser of this match would have one last opportunity to make the Olympics in the final 16-team repechage.
What looked like times of old for Samoa in Australia, has met harsh reality head on.