MAPUSAGA FOU'S RUGBY TEAM READIES FOR TMO 7s TOURNAMENT
The champions of the Ulu Festival Rugby Tournament, held last year in December, are ready to enter the American Samoa Rugby Union’s second annual TMO 7’s Tournament, bringing a great threat to the field for the first time. They will be competing against not only our local teams, but the guest teams from Samoa and from around the Pacific.
Samoa News spoke to the Mapusaga Fou Rugby Team President, Mikaele Toeava on how his team has been preparing to enter one of this biggest tournaments ever organized on island.
“Our team has been preparing not only physical, but also mentally and spiritually to be part of this tournament. This is a very big deal for us to be a part of this Flag Day 7’s tournament, and as the new incoming team in the tournament, we are taking every chance we get to prepare and to get ourselves ready for the opportunity when it presents itself,” Toeava said.
According to the team president, there has been some major changes to his team since the tournament in December where they claimed the Championship title. "There are only five veteran or returning players for our team heading into this tournament — a majority of the team are all new players who came out to join us in practice, and made it on our squad list for this certain tournament.” He noted his team’s ages range from 18 years and up.
Toeava told Samoa News that Mapusaga Fou is heading into their seventh week of preparations. “The first three weeks of practice was just basically running, incline ground up… heading towards Aoloau village, to try and have our players fit and ready for practice, then the remaining weeks to now, were basic rugby practice here on our field, and at Lions Park.”
He said their goal in this competition is similar to any other team's goal heading into this tournament, “…that is to win and bring home the championship title.
“Last December when we brought home the title of the Ulu Festival Rugby Tournament, we told our players that if we were able to achieve that and go that far, we can do the same thing in this tournament too, it doesn’t matter if we’re a new team to the tournament, but we’re not a new team to the sport,” Toeava said.
The team president wanted to thank the Mapusaga Fou community for their strong support of the village team.
“First of all, I would like to send out a big fa’afetai and fa’amalo to our biggest supporter, our Bishop Jason Magalei for all that he does for our team, especially for his never ending and strong support for the Mapusaga Fou Rugby Team. We would also like to thank the leaders of our aumaga for letting us practice on this field, especially to the representatives of our county for their help and support, and last but not least a big fa’amalo and thank you to our coach To’ilolo.”