Samoa’s women’s rugby team admits that quarantine restrictions may force some players not to make themselves available for the World Cup campaign.
Manusina will advance to the final qualifying tournament, which is expected to take place in Europe in May, four months before the start of the World Cup in New Zealand. Rugby fans can book Rugby World Cup Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
All of the players are amateurs and coach Ramsey Tomokino said if they had to spend a month in quarantine on top of the World Cup proper it could be a bridge too far.
“It would mean some players might have to leave their jobs or just say no because their employment is their livelihood, and that is the difference between the men’s and the women’s game, where we’re not full-time professional athletes. It would hit us pretty hard actually if that was the case.”
Manusina outclassed Tonga 40-0 in November to advance to the final repechage however the other three squads are still to be confirmed.
The European Qualification Tournament was canceled last year because of Covid-19 while the Women’s Six Nations, Asia Rugby Women’s Championship and a playoff between Kenya and Colombia have all been postponed, leaving Samoa in a holding pattern.
“We’re just really waiting to see what the next instructions are around this qualifier game,” Tomokino explained.
“It’s meant to be the last four teams vying for that one spot into one of the hardest pools alongside New Zealand, Australia and Wales but certainly we’d love to get the opportunity to do that.”
While Europe remains the most likely destination, Tomokino has heard other whispers doing the rounds.
“There is also the possibility of that repechage being down in New Zealand but then also we’re hearing other scenarios too which, if they play out, might not be favorable to us, he said. And that they might look at the two highest-ranked teams playing of the four which could pose an issue for us, so we could possibly miss out in that regard.”
The bulk of the Manusina squad will resume training in Auckland on Wednesday and Ramsey Tomokino is keen to expand his player pool for what it’s hoped will be a year to remember.
“I think there will be a few girls now that are realizing that they’re probably not going to make New Zealand or Australia – if they haven’t been shoulder tapped by now then they’re probably not likely in the World Cup frame,” he said.
“We’ve opened that up again just to see if there are any new players that come onto the radar and then we’ve obviously got our core group of girls, so we’ve probably got easily a group of between 50-60 players.”
While nothing is set in stone, officials are also working hard to confirm some much-needed match preparation. It’s still hoped that the Oceania Women’s Championship will return in 2021 after last year’s competition was canceled because of the pandemic.
The Manusina are also exploring the possibility of more test matches against Pacific Island countries using New Zealand based players, in an effort to improve their world ranking. We are offering New Zealand Rugby World Cup Tickets so Rugby fans can get through our trusted online ticketing marketplace. Xchangetickets.com is the most reliable source to book Rugby World Cup 2023 tickets.