The future of Samoan rugby

By Sina Filifilia Seva’aetasi ,

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MANUIA: Samoa’s U20’s team 2017 at the Orator Hotel in Ululoloa.

MANUIA: Samoa’s U20’s team 2017 at the Orator Hotel in Ululoloa. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Samoa’s U20’s team have a lot on their shoulders.

Firstly, the team is getting ready for the Oceania Rugby U20 Championship beginning April 28th at Bond University in Australia.  

Before the team departs, they held one last hoorah at the Orator Hotel in Ululoloa.  

And no one is feeling the heat more than head coach, Fa’aofo Junior Leota who says the team is ready.  

“I think the whole team is strong.  If there’s any weaknesses we’ll sure find out in Oceania.”

“It’s really good, everyone’s humming along now and all the boys are getting fit,” he shared.

In Oceania, Samoa will face strong opposition from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand but Fa’aofo shared this will provide a great dress rehearsal before the Junior World Cup to reveal any cracks in the system.   

“With a rugby team, you’ve got to find the right mix.  You won’t get that until later on until it’s closer to when we leave. We just chop and change until we find the right balance for this team. We’ve got it right now.”

“We’re not looking past the first game. We want to get the first game over and done with and see what we can achieve.  We want to get our combinations and all that right before we head over to the Junior World Cup.”

LEADERS: Coach Fa’aofo Junior Leota and captain Ivan Fepulea’i.
LEADERS: Coach Fa’aofo Junior Leota and captain Ivan Fepulea’i.

The head coach has named Samoa’s very own Ivan Fepulea’i to lead the boys on the field.  

The 20 year old skipper from Togafuafua and Alamagoto said it’s an honour to be named captain. 

“It’s huge. It’s a privilege to be named captain. Carrying the name of Samoa is pretty big to me.  I’m real passionate about it.”

He shared that his strong abilities in communication and ensuring the team is all on the same page are what makes him a strong leader.  

The skipper also shared his expectations for the team, “ We’re there to win and not just there to make numbers. Our expectations are that we will do our best. We’ve been training hard and hopefully the results come ourway,” he said.

Head coach Fa’aofo paid tribute to the sponsors who have helped the team get this far. 

 “I want to acknowledge  those who’ve backed us all the way:  Big Bear, Orator Hotel, Le Manumea Hotel, Lucia’s Catering, Tanoa Tuistala Hotel, S.O.S Ltd, Farmer Joe Supermarket and St. Therese Retreat Centre.” 

The team will be departing this weekend to the Gold Coast, Australia.  

© Samoa Observer 2016

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