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Lauli’i’s “Moli o le ava” Rugby Team was one of the local teams who joined in on the American Samoa Rugby Union’s TMO Marist Pago 7’s last year, but fell just short in the playoffs. This year, Lauli’i’s Head Coach Ropeti Taua told Samoa News that Lauli’i will be joining in this year with a different style.


“The only thought that is in my heart right now is that, I hope this tournament will have the advantage to have these players experience something different from some of the other teams on island, but also… making the relationship of friendship and brotherhood bonding between Pacific islanders and athletes as well,” said Taua.


He added, “Our mentality coming into this tournament is to be overly humble and patient, [and] to unleash the beast and the spirit of our village on the field when the time comes to play.”


As for their preparations, Taua told Samoa News they are practicing to win.


“I know all the teams in this league are prepping to do only one thing, and that’s to win, and Lauli’i is training hard for the same reason too. Our team is not preparing for the local teams on island, but we a training in the level of preparation for the teams who are coming from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand, because they are going to be the biggest threat in this tournament, and we can’t afford to see overseas teams claiming top titles that belong here in American Samoa.”


Taua said, “Last year there were different coordinators running the team, and they succeeded throughout the tournament with an impressive outcome. This year, I am aiming to do the same thing, but in a higher level of play for our team.”


Two more weeks to go before the tournament, and coach Taua told Samoa News that Lauli’i is just into their second week of official practice, and they haven’t been able to make the actual numbers of players that he aimed for, but he has the same squad of players from the previous year.


“These are the same kids from four years ago, that are training with me right now, some of our players are from Fagaitua High School, but they are very fast learners and dedicated players, so I would say that our age level averages from 30 years old going down.”


On behalf of the Moli o le Ava rugby team, Taua wanted to send out his deepest appreciation and thanks to “the elders of the village for their prayers and their thoughts for us, we would also like to thank the village of Lauli’i for their support throughout practice, and our games.”