The Teuila Tag Festival tournament got underway yesterday with matches played at the Football Federation Samoa fields at Tuanaimato.
The tournament has attracted 20 teams who are competing in four different divisions: open men’s, open mix, open women’s and masters.
The Minister of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.), Loau Solamalemalo Keneti Sio, welcomed the participants and officially opened the tournament.
“I am honored to be here due to the first ever tag rugby tournament to be held in Samoa that has taken place today (yesterday).
“But not only that but we are fortunate to have international teams from New Zealand and Australia take part in our games. I hope that with this new sport it may help with the development of rugby in our country,” he said.
Samoa Tau Tag president, Faaofonu’u Junior Leota, expressed excitement at the growth of the game in Samoa in the last six months.
There have been five local tournaments this year with 21 Tau Tag clubs set up around Samoa with a number of them competing in the Teuila Tag tournament. The clubs are not just Apia-based and come from as far as Aleipata and Samatau, where several tournaments were held in the lead up to Teuila.
Tag tournaments have been held in New Zealand and Australia for many years and are popular and successful. However, island nations that participated were not nationally sanctioned.
By establishing Samoa’s very own international tournament, the organisers hope it would open the way for other sanctioned island nations to participate and over the long-term promote Samoa as a venue for future sporting tournaments.
The teams that are participating in this tournament are: Apia Maroons, Titans NRL, Samurai Samatau, Australia Samoa, Tau Warriors, Tau Avengers, Tau Cruisers, Counties Manukau Auckland Allstars, New Zealand Police, Samoa Police, Samoa Commercial Bank, Volcano Vailele, Letava Bulldogs, Moamoa Roosters, Taula Eels, Supernaturals, Tau Shakerz, Tau Drifterz, Tau Tag City and Tau Marines.