To mark the 40th Anniversary of the Samoa Observer, a series of selected articles printed over the last 40 years will be re-published in the next two weeks, to show our readers the issues covered by this newspaper over the years and the personalities that made the headlines.
First Published: 28 March 1993
You can pull out all the kava roots now in the country, clean up all the kava bowls and start the brew. And don’t worry about a cup because Marina, Taufusi. Danny and the Manu Samoa sevens are bringing the cup home from the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Bank invitational sevens.
The Cup is big enough for everyone! They came as the underdogs and even though they had convincingly won the Canberra sevens they weren’t given a chance t win against Fiji, Australia or the mighty All Blacks.
However Taufusi told me at the outset that he felt good about this team and as I wrote earlier I also had that warm feelings.
Just a few hours after demolishing the All Blacks 24-14 at the cost of Filipo Saena and Danny Kaleopa, the boys in blue gave the so-called kings of Hong Kong, Fiji a thing or two to think about by defeating them 14-12.
The two point margin was enough to ensure the win but it did not reflect the way these boys gutted themselves for their country.
Fiji sent early warning signals to acting captain Lolani Koko and at the boys saying that they would not get the cup so easily.
In just 45 seconds from the first kick off they had scored but failed to convert. Three minutes later Alama Ieremia, in for injured Saena, scored his first ever try at the Hong Kong sevens and judging by the way he played in the final he will be scoring many more in future tournaments.
Anetele’a Aiolupo converted to give his team the lead, 7-5.
Fiji came storming back four minutes later to take the lead with a finely executed try which Serevi converted for a 12-7 lead. But from the next kick-off the Fijian forwards tapped the ball back for their backs. Alefaio Vaisuai pounced on it and went for a short run to the try line to give his side a 12 all draw.
Anetele’a made sure of his conversion making the half time score 14-12. Before halftime and after Anetele’a’s conversion Alefaio went high to catch the kick-off but was taken from underneath falling on his neck.
There were some anxious moments as doctors tried to ascertain if he was paralysed. He was taken to hospital and his condition was not known as I filed this report. In the second half there were no more points scored but the entertaining match was all worth the anxiety while waiting for the final outcome.
Junior Paramore was recruited after his team lost. At the final whistle the field was swamped by well wishers and the scores of Samoans that were here.
While the Fijians had most possession Western Samoa’s strong defence held out.