The day was hot but so were the skills and talents displayed by the young men of the Samoa Independence International Sevens (SII 7’s) tournament.
The SII 7’s kicked off yesterday at the Lotopa Marist grounds with the Under 14 primary schools tournament.
Passion on the field was evident as young hearts toughed out the heat to make their schools proud and showed that the future of Samoan rugby is in good hands.
10 schools brought in their best young stars for a shot at glory but according to Samoa Rugby Unions Development Coordinator and SII 7’s helper, Shalom Senara, at the end of the day it’s important to just have fun.
“SII 7’s is a celebration for the Independence Day and so today we have the primary schools starting the tournaments,” he said during an interview with Samoa Observer.
“At the moment we have 10 schools involved in the kick off; it’s going to be a pretty sound tournament.
“We really wanted to make it an enjoyable day for our Under 14 kids. This will be followed by our under 18 secondary schools tournament as well as our Open women and men’s competitions on Friday and Saturday held at Apia Park.
“For me personally, I am expecting to find a lot of talent and also the biggest thing is I want everyone to just enjoy it.
“That’s the main aim for this tournament especially for our under 14’s and 18’s.
“I want the kids to enjoy playing rugby; the thing about us in Samoa is that rugby is in our blood and when these kids play, you see the smile on their faces every time.”
This will be S.R.U’s first time being part of the SII 7’s and according to Mr. Senara, they are excited to see the outcome.
“SII 7’s has been running for three years now and it was started by Su’a Stephen Schuster and his team,” he said.
“S.R.U. has jumped on board this year and has helped with organizing the tournament. We are really excited and for me personally, the more games the kids get to play the better.
“From there we can start putting up more and more tournaments resulting in the improvement of quality of the events.
“The development of our kids and the future of Samoa starts now; these Under 14 players will be the players of tomorrow and that’s a fact.”
This tournament serves a dual purpose for S.R.U. as it gives them scouting opportunities for young stars.
“For me at this stage I just want them to have fun and from that I will also be able to pick out a lot of talented players to be our future Manu Samoa and Manu Sina players,” Mr. Senara said.
“SII 7’s is an annual event but in the future, we will have some tournaments that I want to introduce and some of them will be domestic, others international.
“That’s in the pipeline for the end of this year and early next year.”
Apart from the enjoyable aspect of the tournament, there will be prizes to provide healthy competition for the teams taking part.
“For the kids, women and men taking part in the tournament, just have fun with it and make the most of it.
We want to introduce a lot more different competitions but the key is preparation,” Mr. Senara said.
“I know a few schools who have prepared their hearts out for this tournament; so parents come over and watch, rugby fans come and enjoy the days, it will be a great string of tournaments for all.”