Seven Bay players to trial for Samoa Sevens

Mention Johnny Lauano's name to Napier Old Boys Marist rugby supporters and they will tell you he can do no wrong.

They’re spot on too. First five-eighth Lauano, 29, has been a key architect of the club's premier team's 34-game unbeaten run during the past two seasons and retaining of the Maddison Trophy, Nash Cup and Hawke's Bay Challenge Shield this season.

Last year he played a major role for the Bay's most successful senior rep team, the Hawke's Bay Samoans, who captured the High Commission Cup.

Hawkes Bay Today reports on September 9 Lauano will be one of seven members of that side who will trial for the Samoa Sevens team in Wellington.

Former Samoa Sevens rep Tom Iosefo, former New Zealand Marist Sevens rep Timo Vaiusu, Ausage Fomai, Jordan Faia, Pouvi Fatialofa and Saifiti Saifiti are the others.

Lauano and Iosefo must rate as serious contenders.

"I'm going to try and give it a good crack. Obviously Tom has got all the experience from being in that envinronment and will be able to pass on plenty of knowledge to us. Hopefully a few of us get picked," Lauano said.

Lauano will have another international assignment as a back-up plan if he fails to earn a Samoan Sevens contract.

Like his brothers, Migao and Sami, he is a member of the NOBM team which is entered in the Bali Tens tournament in October.

"Straight after that we will be into NOBM Sevens mode so either way I will get plenty of sevens," Lauano said.

All three Lauano brothers will turn out for the Hawke's Bay Samoans in their 1pm clash against the Wellington Samoans at Elwood Park in Hastings today.

It will be an early opportunity for the Bay seven to compare their skills with some of the other sevens trialists.

Hawke's Bay Samoans head coach Tivaini Fomai said today's match is their second of the season after a 58-12 victory against the Bay of Plenty Samoans last weekend and as today's is a traditional fixture it will be treated as a must-win affair.

Fomai's troops will play Waikato Samoans on September 2 before their High Commission Cup competition begins on September 9.

For former Manu Samoa flanker Fomai there will be some additional spice today because the Wellington side is coached by his cousin and fellow Hastings Boys' High School product Willie Lafaele.

A former Manawatu and Wellington representative, Lafaele represented New Zealand at secondary schools and under-19 level and at one stage during his playing career was ranked ahead of former All Black Ma'a Nonu on the Wellington rep scene before hit by injuries.

■ HB Samoans: Timo Vaiusu, Migao Lauano (co-captain), Vai Kereti, Niu Iosi, Misipati Lealaisalanoa, Johnny Lauano, Sami Lauano, Danya Tulou, Fale Matamata, Pouvi Fatialofa (co-captain), Tauese Fatialofa, Kome Palaamo, Paulo Nu'u, Desmond Manuo, Nathan Pulega. 
Substitutes, forwards: Dennis Tapusoa, Amiga Mikaele, Clinton Vaiusu, Tali Faiumu, Niue Vaimoli. Backs: Johnny Saifiti, Penual Pilamo, Jordan Faia.

■ Wellington Samoans: Elvis Madar, Nash Fisi, Jeff Makapelu, Sa Tafua, Elijah Va'a-Brooking, Dudley Parson, Ken Kapeli, Ben Tupuola, Marcus Ata, Matt Peni, Telea Seumanutafa, Tito Ioane, Laman Paul, Valentine Meachen, Andrew Mamea. 
Substitutes: Ato Faamau, Fereti Soloa, Aukuso Tuitama.