The action on the rugby field does attract people of all ages and if there is an interest in a team sport like rugby, one can never start too early picking up the rugby ball.
That was reason enough for Samoa Rugby Union to put together a tournament for the country’s youngest fans of the popular sport.
With the GIR/PIU Under Twelve 7’s tournament, the Rugby Union challenged teams of six different local primary schools to find out which one was the best at Marist St. Joseph Stadium’s rugby field.
The tournament, which was the first of its kind organised by the Union, did indeed require a bit of preparation.
Most of the young players had never actually played in a tournament before.
“We organised several training sessions in advance. Four or five weeks ago, we introduced the boys to the tag rugby and just the basic skills of the sport. Our programme is called “Get into Rugby” and is actually a part of the World Rugby Programme,” Filoi Eneliko said.
Filoi is working in Samoa’s Rugby Union as the “Get into Rugby”- coordinator.
The event’s organisation followed a strictly planned schedule to familiarise the under 12 year old players with the rules and peculiarities of the popular game.
“Starting with rugby is usually done in three phases, it’s try, play and stay. In the try-phase, we let them do the basics and they were simple given the opportunity to test if rugby is something they feel comfortable with.
“The current stage of playing means for them to implement what they’ve learnt before and so far, they really enjoy it”, said Filoi Eneliko at the edge of Marist St. Joseph Stadium’s rugby field.
While giving it all on the field, the young rugby fanatics still did not miss the fun part of the game, as Pesaeuino Feo, coach of the team from Marist Brothers School in Mulivai explained.
“We’ve trained with them every afternoon for one and a half hours and they still had some time to enjoy themselves while playing some practice matches together”.
Even though the boys from Marist Brothers School did not have any experience prior to their training sessions for the “Get into Rugby”competition, they adapted very fast to the necessities on the field.
“Some of them attended the training directly from school, other boys came from their homes. But all of them showed great effort and discipline during the preparations. We taught them for instance how to pass the ball in the best way and they all learned really fast,” coach Eneliko said.
The team from Marist Brothers School in Mulivai was only one of the six teams that competed at Marist St. Joseph Stadium in Lotopa.
In the tournament, the different school teams were divided into two pools, with a special Cup Final that closed the event as the last match of the day.
For Samoa Rugby Union, they have already planned to repeat the tournament next year.
“It is going to be an annual tournament for our under 12 players. We also feature similar events for under sevens, nines or tens tournaments, but this is the first wheere we actually incorporate the physical contact for the players,” said Filoi.
The GIR/PIU Under Twelve 7’s tournament included teams from the following primary schools: Marist Brother Mulivai Primary School, Falefitu Primary School, Faleula-Uta Primary School, Moataa Primary School, Vailele Primary School and Laulii Primary School.