Talavalu wins their first game in XXXI Valima Marist 7s Tournament in Samoa
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — As part of their preparation for the upcoming 16th Pacific Games in Samoa this July, the American Samoa Rugby Union (ASRU) is sending a 20-men 7s’ squad team to compete at the 31st Vailima Marist International Sevens tournament this weekend.
The ASRU team, ‘Talavalu’, is lead by the long time Head Coach, Tommy Elisara along with his coaching staffs and senior rugby officials. Elisara told Samoa News that his team has been training for 3 weeks to prepare for the 7s’ tournament.
“The main goal is to prepare a good 7s team to represent American Samoa in the upcoming Pacific Games in Samoa in July,” he said. “So our plan is to use this tournament to gain experience for our new players, to show them how tough the sport is and what level they need to play at when it comes to the international rugby.”
Elisara noted, “The Marist 7s’ is a huge step forward for all the new rugby players around the Pacific, including American Samoa. Not only will they get the chance to compete against other top players from other Pacific nations, but it will also be a good chance for them to get use to the game’s new rules.”
One of the big challenges ASRU is facing right now is the lack of rugby tournaments throughout the year, to keep players competitive and fit.
Aside from the Vailima 7s tournament, Elisara said that our national team would have two more rugby tournaments to compete in before the final squad for the Pacific Games is selected. The last two tournaments will be held in Samoa in March and May of this year.
XXXI VAILIMA MARIST INTERNATIONAL SEVENS
The XXXI Vailima Marist Sevens Tournament is being held Feb. 15-16, (Samoa Time) at the ACP Stadium, Lotopa. And in a first for the 31-year-old tournament, the winners will be awarded a trophy named after a Marist legend, the late Tupua Fred Wetzell.
To signal the start of the Vailima Marist International Sevens official program, Talavalu took part in a traditional ava ceremony held in Apia, Samoa on Thursday afternoon.
Tournament officials and Marist St. Joseph’s Sports Club executives were joined by Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) representatives, members of the diplomatic community, sponsors and players at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel for the ava ceremony.
The SRU-sanctioned tournament has attracted 24 men’s and seven women’s teams from Samoa, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand. Fijian playmaker Nacanieli Batina, along with some Manu Samoa 7s players will be a part of the tourney’s players.
Talavalu is in Pool D with Vailele and BSB Barbarians; and in their first match of the tournament, Talavou defeated BSB Barbarians 21-15.
The team will return to American Samoa tomorrow — Saturday (Sunday, Samoa Time).