VIDEO DAY 2: TMO MARIST AMERICAN SAMOA FLAG DAY 7s — VAILELE WINS
The two-day, 3rd TMO Marist American Samoa Flag Day 7s International tournament ended at the Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, April 12.
TMO, the tournament’s major sponsor is proud to bring the final results of 2014 Flag Day event.
The TMO Marist American Samoa International’s Flag Day 7s tournament may be the last one since it started three years ago, but the Saturday final between Vailele and Marist St. Joseph from Apia at the Veterans Memorial Stadium left the crowd with great memories that will last for a very long time.
This was a thriller. Marist St. Joseph executed what could have been the last play of the match from 75 meters away from the end zone. With 00 seconds shown in the scoreboard clock, St. Joseph took it all the way to the end zone and scored near the goal posts.
Vailele was up 19-14 when time expired but the referee called for a scrum with St. Joseph putting the ball in. They got the ball and it was fed to their fast winger on the northern side of the field. He eluded two defenders as he ran for over 60 yards to the try line.
It was just a matter of formality with Marist’s kicker to add two points to lift the Cup but the conversion went wide. That sent the championship final to overtime at 19-19 all.
Three minutes into the first five minutes of extra time, Marist was penalized as one of their players deliberately spiked a bouncing ball he was fighting for with a Vailele player into touch. The Vailele goal kicker converted the three-penalty kick to take the Cup and the $10,000 prize with a 22-19 victory.
Vailele captain, Reupena Levasa thanked the TMO and Marist Pago for the well-run tournament. He recognized the crowd that included Acting Governor Lemalu Peleti Mauga and his wife for their support and cheers. He also paid tribute to one of Vailele’s patrons, Fuimaono Tumalatu who died in Nu’uuli recently.
Levasa who is also the skipper of Samoa’s 7s team said they dedicated all their games to his memory. “This championship is for you Fuimaono. You have left us, but we worked hard during the two day tournament in your honor.”
Marist St. Joseph collected $5,000 while last year’s champion; BBE Vaiala came in third place with Lauli’i (Samoa) in fourth place.
In other results, Moata’a beat Nofoali’i for the Bowl championship, 7-0 while Tepatasi edged Apia 7-5 for the Plate final. The Moli ole Ava from Lauli'i captured the shield championship when it beat Nu’uuli 14-7.
The most improved local team in the tournament was Marist Pago Sports club. They made it to the Cup quarterfinal in the second day of the tournament.
Talavalu star, 21-year old Ryan Pa’aga of the Nu’uuli team was named the top try scorer of the two-day competition. Pa’aga scored eight tries earning him $100 and cases of wahoo. Levi Asi Fa’amatala of Vailele was awarded the MVP.
Acting Governor Lemalu thanked TMO and Marist Pago for teaming up to make the Flag Day international 7s tournament a great success. He commented that this was an excellent way to kick off the 2014 Flag Day celebrations. Lemanu said he was appreciative of the crowd for their participation — the crowd was estimated to be over 3,000 that turned up for two days of exciting rugby.
Francine Gaisoa acknowledged the large crowd and all the teams on behalf of TMO and her dad Gaisoa. “If you have enjoyed the two days of rugby then TMO, as the major sponsor of this tournament has achieved its mission. We thank everyone for coming and hope to see you all again next year.”
Tournament chairman, Si’igava'a Tauileave Toluono also paid tribute to everyone, and for their sponsors that made TMO Marist Pago’s international 7s an unforgettable one.
Another milestone that was established on this tournament was that the Samoa Rugby Union used it to select its Manu Samoa squad for the last two legs of the IRB 7’s circuit that will take place in the coming months in Scotland and England.
A list of those picked by the Manu Samoa selectors that were present at the Veterans Memorial Stadium was announced after the championship final.
(Updated to show correction to team defeated by Vailele as Marist St. Joseph rather than Marist Saints.)