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Pacific News Briefs

New manager for the Samoa National 7’s team: Leuluaialii Theresa Passi.  [Photo: Samoa Observer]
compiled by Samoa News staff


Samoa Rugby Union — The Samoa Rugby Union has announced the appointment of Leuluaialii Theresa Passi as the new manager for the Samoa National 7’s team.

Leuluaialii was educated at St Mary's Savalalo then St Mary's College and later migrated with her family to New Zealand in 1981. She moved back to Samoa in the beginning of 2017 to support her extended families and look for opportunities.

She is from the villages of Taufusi, Toamua, Salani, Poutasi and Sataua and comes with 20 years of administrative experience in the travel industry which will be hugely beneficial in this role. 

“I am excited and I’m looking forward to the many challenges that will come my way. I am grateful to the Samoa Rugby Union for the opportunity to contribute to the 7's campaign,” Leuluaialii said.

Sir Gordon Tietjens congratulated Leuluaialii on her appointment and is adamant that she is up for the challenge. 

“The appointment of a female as part of team management is not new in the rugby arena. We look forward to her supporting the team achieving its objectives and goals in the upcoming HSBC 7's series,” said Sir Gordon Tietjens, Samoa National 7’s team Head Coach.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


For local rugby fans planning on going to Samoa for the Rugby World Cup game happening this Saturday, there is also a chance to see the famous Webb Ellis Cup, which has made the trip to Apia, Samoa and will be on display for this weekend’s crucial Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifier match between Samoa and Fiji.

The qualifier is the final match of the 2017 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup tournament. 

The cumulative results of the 2016 and 2017 Pacific Nations Cup (P.N.C.) will be used to determine two Oceania qualifying spots for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

In 2016 Fiji won both of its P.N.C. matches to win the P.N.C. and last week Fiji beat Tonga 14-10 to secure the Oceania 1 R.W.C. qualifying spot. Samoa is one point behind Tonga going into the last match and their destiny is in their own hands. 

In terms of the 2017 P.N.C. Tonga leads the tournament on five points after its two matches. Fiji has four points after its win last week and Samoa one after a narrow loss to Tonga two weeks ago, so there is also all to play for in the final P.N.C. match.

 Rugby fans in Samoa will have a rare opportunity to get up close to the iconic trophy as it goes on display before and during the match in Apia. The trophy will also make appearances at various rugby clinics in the lead up to the match on the weekend.

Samoa Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer Vincent Faleomavaega is delighted the Cup will be in Apia for his team’s important match, “The Webb Ellis Cup is a huge symbol of our sport and we do not see it in the Pacific Islands very often. I urge all rugby supporters to come and see the Cup and be at the match on Saturday to support Manu Samoa.”

“To secure the Oceania 2 qualifying spot ahead of Tonga we have to be at our best and take the match to Fiji who have had some very good results over the last few weeks against Italy, Scotland and Tonga.”

“Manu Samoa desperately wants to put on a good performance in front of their home fans and qualify for R.W.C. 2019 by defeating Fiji this weekend,” Faleomavaega added.

Fiji will start favorites to secure victory and defend their Pacific Nations title but did not have it all their own way against Tonga last weekend. Samoa will have learnt from that match and will be keen to assert themselves and take the match to the visitors. A big crowd of ten thousand turned up to support Tonga last week in Nuku’alofa and a similar crowd is expected at Apia Stadium.

As Oceania 1 Fiji will be placed in Pool D in 2019 with Australia, Wales, Georgia and Americas 2. At the conclusion of the match in Apia, Samoa or Tonga will qualify as Oceania 2 for R.W.C. 2019 in Japan and will be placed in Pool C with England, France, Argentina and USA. 

 The third-place team, either Samoa or Tonga  (Oceania 3) will play-off against the second placed team in the Rugby Europe qualifying process (Europe 2) for a place as fifth seed in Pool A with Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Europe 1. The loser of this play-off will go into the repechage tournament for the chance to win the final qualification position in Pool B, facing New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Africa 1.

The repechage will comprise Oceania 3 or Europe 2, Africa 2 and Americas 3, plus the winner of a two-match series between Oceania 4 (2017 Oceania Cup winner: Cook Islands or Tahiti) and Asia 1.

 Webb Ellis Cup

Sometime at the beginning of 1987, a few months before the inaugural Rugby World Cup kicked off in Auckland and Sydney, the Webb Ellis Cup, a beautifully crafted piece of silverware, stood in the vaults of the Royal Jewelers, Garrard, in Regents Street, London. The cup, made in 1906 by the Garrard silversmiths, was a reproduction of a trophy believed to have been made around 1740 by one of the leading artisans of the time Paul de Lamerie, a Huguenot silversmith.

Made of sterling silver, gilded in gold, the cup is adorned by a satyr head on one of the two cast scroll handles, while the other is decorated with a nymph head. The decorative pieces include a bearded mask, lion mask and vine.

The cup was selected by the Chairman of the Rugby World Cup 1987 organizing committee.

The committee decided that the cup should be named the Webb Ellis Cup after the Victorian schoolboy, William Webb Ellis who, legend has it, in a fine disregard for the rules of association football, picked up the ball and ran with it, thus creating the game of rugby.

The cup commenced its march towards legend on 23 May 1987 with the RWC opening match between New Zealand and Italy and acquired immortality on 20 June 1987 in Eden Park, when New Zealand captain David Kirk hoisted it in triumph above his head.

Since then, the trophy has travelled the world over. It has been touched by royalty and aboriginal bushmen, by Maori warriors and French farmers, by African children and Canadian Mounties.

— Information provided by Oceania Rugby.

(Source: Samoa Observer)


A letter from the Northern Marianas Governor has backed the controversial US review of National Monuments.

The Governor sent a letter to the Interior Secretary supporting the move this week, just before the deadline for feedback on the review.

Earlier this year President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review National Monuments that had been created over the past 21 years, many of which were created for conservation purposes.

The Marianas Trench Marine National Monument was established in 2009 and prohibits fishing and mining in the area.

The CNMI Governor's acting Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said promised benefits of such a designation had not been seen by the Commonwealth.

"Today the work remains unfinished for a management plan that is supposed to provide for public education programs, traditional access by our indigenous persons, scientific exploration and research, consideration of recreational fishing that will not detract from the monument and programs for monitoring and enforcement," he said.

Kevin Bautista said the review was allowing the CNMI a chance to express their views.

(Source: RNZ)


Washington, D.C. — Wednesday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata was pleased to announce that the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded American Samoa three grants totaling $2,000,000.

“This important funding will help ensure that our airports in Tutuila, Ofu, and Fitiuta will be preserved and rehabilitated,” stated Amata. “Our airports are important to our welfare as they allow for people to travel not only to Hawaii and domestic U.S., but between islands as well.”

The Pago Pago International Airport on Tutuila will receive $1,000,000.  This grant will provide the necessary resources to revitalize 7,000 feet of Runway and to ensure airport stability and longevity.

The second grant, in the amount of $500,000, will fund the project to revitalize 2,000 feet of Runway at the Ofu airport.

The third grant, also in the amount of $500,000, will serve Fitiuta Airport in replacing the current aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicle.  The current vehicle in use is fifteen years old and requires constant maintenance.  This vehicle assists the airport in meeting regulated safety requirements.

“I would like to thank the Federal Aviation Administration for recognizing the need for this critical funding.  I also want to thank Ports Administration Director, Taimalelagi Dr. Claire Poumele and other local officials for their help in obtaining such vital funding for American Samoa’s infrastructure,” concluded Amata. 

(Source: Congresswoman Aumua Amata’s Office- Washington D.C.)