AMERICAN SAMOA FATHER AND SON JOIN FORCES ON U.S. ARMY RUGBY TEAM
American Samoa born US Army Special Forces Warrant Officer Nick Punimata and his son Nu’uese Punimata (SPC), have teamed up for the first time as coach and player representing the US Army Rugby Team.
Father and son both participated in the inaugural Memorial Cup Championship played in conjunction with the College Rugby Championship covered by NBC Sports in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This according to Fort Lewis Rugby News, in an email to Samoa News yesterday.
According to Fort Lewis Rugby News, the Memorial Cup was a venue brought together by Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelter (DRASH) CEO John Prusmack and USA Rugby Inc. to promote rugby, not just at the collegiate level, but also to showcase the five military services in their rugby development.
The younger Punimata, who is a 2004 graduate of Samoana High School, is currently training to be a 42 R (Parachute Rigger) and is assigned to the Special Forces Group (Airborne), headquartered at Camp Henry Williams in Draper, Utah. He recently completed the US Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. In addition, he is also a former member of the USA Eagles National 7’s Rugby Team and completed in the International Rugby Board 7’s tours in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
He is scheduled to complete his MOS training in late July and then return home to Lacey, Washington and assume his normal work schedule with the Serevi Rugby Academy.
Rugby News said father and son will also take the field together for this year’s Military Armed Forces Championships in Glendale, Colorado as part of the All-Army Rugby 7’s Team, competing once again against the four military service teams for US Armed Forces supremacy.
The father will be the assistant coach and manager for this year’s All-Army Rugby 7’s Team with COL Mark Drown as the head coach. These two also coached together for this year’s Denver 7’s with a development Army Team preparing for the Armed Forces Championships.
The Fort Lewis Rugby News also reported that the Memorial Cup venue was a showcase opportunity for the five military services to compete in their own pool play with the top two finishers to play for the Memorial Cup Championship on the final day of the event.
Army swept the military competition and faced the US Navy for the finals. The following are the Army Rugby Team scores for their Memorial Competition:
Army 42- Marines 0
Army 26- Air Force 17
Army 27- Coast Guard 0
Army 10- Navy 5
Army 12- Navy 5
They added that the US Armed Forces Tournament not only encompasses the five US Military Service Teams, but will also play host to four International Military Teams competing in an integrated unique international competition simultaneously. Once the US Armed Forces competition is completed with a champion crowned, the US Military Teams will also compete against the international teams to determine an International Military Champion.
In 2012, the US Marines were crowned the US Armed Forces Champions. In the International Division, the British Army was successful in running the tables and stayed undefeated throughout the competition. In the culminating International Championship, the British Team was very dominating and handily beat the US Marines for the inaugural International Championship, said the Fort Lewis Rugby News.