The Auckland Samoa Women’s team are the champions of this year’s Vailima Pure Marist International Sevens tournament.
They defeated the Marist Invitation team 20-5 in the final.
It was a tough contest. Having the women’s team in the Marist tournament brought so much excitement to the competition.
Auckland Samoa managed to score two tries just before the stroke of half time.
Leading onto the second half, the Marist Invitation scored one try while the Auckland Samoa had four.
The Player of the tournament for the Women’s teams went to Hastings Leiataua from the Auckland Samoa.
Coach, Vania Lavea-Wolfgramm, a former Black Ferns from the villages of Safotu and Lauli’i, shared they came for so much more in the tournament.
“One of the things that we came here for is just to know our culture more because we cannot forget who we are and that is the one thing that brings us all together as Samoans.”
The 37-year-old mentioned that it is the same reason they have donated their $3,000 prize for the people in Mapuifagalele.
“We have been able to donate all gifts from New Zealand to schools such as Vaimauga College.”
“We wanted to go another level in terms of giving back and there was a registration fee that we were quite happy that we would give that back to Samoa.”
She stated most of the players in the team are Marist girls at heart and to be present for the 30th anniversary is definitely a memorable experience for them.
“I am a Marist girl and this is close to my heart and a dozen other girls, it is very special and I think it has been a very emotional week for everyone, just being here is just really special.”
“It does feel quite special and quite surreal, but I guess the big message for everyone here is that if you give the opportunity for the girls to play they will be great.”
The biggest challenge for their team during the competition was the heat, but they are thankful that they were able to adjust and take the Cup home.
“The heat was always going to be a tough one for us; there are only a couple of girls who were able to come to Samoa and play before and 90 percent of the girls who have never played in the heat,” she added.
She says the girls did not know what to expect on their first day.
“The first game that we played, everyone was very nervous, they were not so sure what to expect and with every game, we got better and there was progress.”
“The good thing about our girls is that we have quite a big number of our squad, but a lot of them are very young not only young in terms of age, but also in their rugby career.”
“We went down to the Marist Invitation team yesterday (Friday), we just had to come together and make the younger girls feel safe and feel that they are encouraged that they can play.”
“What the girls could play best is with the ball in hand, hoping with the rain that it will work for us,” she added.
The highlight for Vania is that she was able to come with her own little family by her side to support the Auckland Samoa team.
“My son is a champ, he is only one-years-old and being able to celebrate this milestone with my family being here is special. I am glad that they have been able to come. It is a pleasure to have them here.”