Marist Sevens proves value of local tournaments
Organizers and fans who flocked to the Apia Park last weekend for the 26th Vailima Marist Sevens have hailed the tournament as one of the best yet.
Won by a star-studded Vailele outfit, after a tough final against Lauli’i, the tournament attracted the likes of D.J Forbes, Tomasi Cama and referee, James Bolabiu, as guests. Figures provided so far – including attendance - show that this year’s tournament was one of the best in recent years.
“We are thrilled about the figures,” said Seuamuli Henry Taefu, President of the Marist Samoa Sevens.
The President acknowledged the support of everyone, especially the companies that offered to back the tournament through one way or another. Spectator Johnny Le’au said the weekend’s fiesta of rugby proves that the Marist Sevens is the biggest tournament in Samoa.
“When it comes to Sevens rugby, there is nothing quite like the Marist Sevens in Samoa,” he said.
“It’s a tournament everyone wants to win and it’s a tournament that everyone wants to see. “The feedback from people who came this year has been exceptional. The tournament gets better year after year.”
One of the best features of the tournament this year, away from the field, is the work behind the scenes by Police officers to control unruly behaviour. It is a given that at any Sevens tournament, there will be drunks. And there were many at Apia Park. But you wouldn’t have noticed them.
There were a couple of incidents, which the Police quickly moved on, removing the spectators from the stadium. The atmosphere was mostly festive with the D.J keeping the sounds pumping throughout the day. Despite the rain and muddy conditions, the crowds enjoyed themselves, as much off the field as it was on the field. There was a controlled party atmosphere
enjoyed by families from all over the country. It was not unusual to see parents and their children rocking up together for a day out at the park.
One mother, who said she doesn’t quite follow rugby, told the Samoa Observer she never knew that watching rugby could be a fun family activity. “My husband and my boys are obsessed with rugby,” she said.
“So when they suggested that we’d all come to the rugby, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea.
“But it’s been fun seeing the action both on and off the field. “I think there should be more of these types of tournaments.”
Special guests D.J Forbes and Cama were popular attractions, posing for photos and giving the lucky members of the crowd autographs.
Forbes told the Samoa Observer he would have loved to play in Samoa but obligations to his team in New Zealand, which is going into camp at the end of this week, means he could not risk being injured. But what did he think about the quality of the rugby?
“It was impressive,” he said.