Producing world class players is always the goal for any sport, and with the launch of the Samoa Rugby Union Academy (S.R.U.A.) that goal is slowly becoming reality.
The academy will train a select few rugby talents, developing them into possible rugby legends who may one day represent Samoa.
The launch which was held at the High Performance Unit, was attended by S.R.U board members and Chairman, Honorable Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.
Addressing the selected students was motivational speaker and Rugby All Blacks and Manu Samoa legend Tuigamala Va'aiga Tuigamala. “This is the first time something like this has been launched for S.R.U, but it is also something that has been long in the making,” he said. “I am honored that the P.M is here to support what I believe is the step in the right direction; I am also honored to be here with many people who believe in the dream.” According to Tuigamala, this is a new concept for Samoa that should be heavily embraced. “A rugby academy is something new to me,” he said.
“Back in our days we just got on with it, and I think it is a blessing to have such a structured set up to enhance your talents, you are so lucky to have something like this.
“When I was young I didn’t go to school to learn, I went to eat my lunch, make friends and play rugby; that is the honest truth.
“So when given the chance I chased my dream of playing rugby, over the years I learnt the real meaning of Team, Together Everyone Achieves More (T.E.A.M.), another word I learnt was Pride; Personal Responsibility In Delivering Excellence (P.R.I.D.E.).
“The word ‘Team’ is an honest collective term, but ‘Pride’ is something that you cannot coach, it’s something that comes within yourself “We constantly hear our Manu teams speak about ‘heart’ that’s where all of these comes from, and I’m a personal believer that if you marry the ‘team work’ and the ‘personal pride’ that you have within yourself then you hold the recipe for success.”
Tuigamala emphasized on how Success is closely linked to Focus.
“The white man says, Success is not hocus pocus, it’s all about being focused, now the academy is an opportunity for you to focus on your ability to learn and enhance your talent,” he said. “This won’t be easy but you players are lucky to have players here to help you along the way.
“You have your coaches here who want to help; you have your rugby union here who wants to see you go all the way.
“And even better you have your parents here to support you.
“You know as I grew up my parents said ‘there’s nothing you will get out of rugby’ but as time went by I got better and better.
“So I just want to encourage you. Congratulations on being selected and congratulations on the rugby union for putting up this academy.
“I want to get my hands dirty, I want to do whatever it takes to make you the best, so we can have the next Brian Lima’s and Semo Sititi’s and other legends of the game.
“But you have to give yourself a chance, from one brother to another, yes I have been there but my time is up.
“Even with our C.E.O. here, our time has passed. This is your chance to take the name ‘Manu’ and the country ‘Samoa’.
“We want to see Samoa promoted, we want to see Samoa back at the top.”
Seeing a Samoan become successful is always something to be proud of.
“One of the greatest things I have had the privilege of being part of, when I was selected to be an All Black,” Tuigamala said.
“It wasn’t because I was an All Black; it was because I am a full blooded Polynesian Samoa with a full blooded name representing our Samoa as an All Black.
“That is so significant for me, yes we had Michael Jones, Eroni Clarke and Bryan Williams but they are all English named Samoans,
“But if you hear a Samoan Name it feels great, it makes your very proud, so stand up and be proud of who you are, and represent where you come from, Samoa.
“I wish you and the Union all the very Best.”