Two teams from Auckland New Zealand have arrived for the upcoming Vailima Marist Sevens tournament.
Auckland Marist St. Joseph’s and Auckland Marist Old Boys touched down at Faleolo yesterday and were greeted with the friendly smile of Miss Samoa, Ariana Taufao and the tournament’s management team.
Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun said the teams’ arrival signals the start of an exciting week for Samoan rugby.
“This is one of the top teams in the tournament which is why an invitation was sent to them” Seumanu said. “Last year they lost in the semi finals.”
The two teams are part of 32 teams taking part in the tournament.
Seumanu said all preparations for the tournament have been completed and now it is only a matter of days before kick off.
The manager of the Marist Auckland teams Lemalu Ben Silva is excited to be back in Samoa and is looking to make history.
“No team from New Zealand has ever won the tournament so it would be nice for our team to take the cup home with us,” Lemalu said. “All the boys that I brought with me play for national teams over in New Zealand.”
But first things first.
“We are just going to settle down because it’s the first for some of these boys to be in Samoa and the humidity is pretty harsh.
“We are going to try to get used to the air and make sure the boys enjoy the trip while focusing on the tournament.”
The teams have been training very hard since the last time they came here so there won’t be any more mistakes. They have high hopes this time round.
“This is the second time we have brought the team down to Samoa. We have learnt our lesson from last year so the boys have been working really hard,” Lemalu said.
Part of the squad that just arrived was a very familiar face, Alosio Petelo Vili who was once part of the Manu Sevens squad.
“I am very excited to be here again and my team and I are ready to make history,” Alesio said. “There are no excuses this time because last year we made one simple mistake and it cost us the tournament.”
According to Seumanu, Fiji and Tonga won’t be taking part in the tournament due to financial reasons
“Tonga cannot get funds from the IOC while Fiji is demanding a lot from Samoa,” Seumanu said.
“The Fiji team even expect their travel expenses to be paid, but our clubs can’t do that because Vit’s too expensive.”