Of all the divisions in the recently held Samoa touch Association N.P.C., the women’s grade was supposed to be the easiest division win for the travelling and reigning N.P.C. Champions, Queensland Samoa (Q.S.T.A.) to walk away with.
Undefeated in pool game, and easing into the final after a day off, this was as easy as it gets.
Well that was until they faced the East Steppers women’s side, who were last year’s undefeated finalists in the women’s division.
Led by Samoa Women National representatives, Gabrielle Apelu, Lerissa Fong, Lepa Faaiuaso and Lepatai Hansel-Penn, the East defensive line speed and determination stunned the Australian side.
The East Stepper defense frustrated the skilled Queensland side, along with the explosive speed of East Stepper duo, Linda Fiafia and Olivia Hogarth. East Steppers sealed the incredible victory with an overtime drop-off, come back from behind victory, when Linda Fiafia scored off an inside ball from Lerissa Fong.
President of Samoa Touch association Lemauga Hobart Va’ai, says: “That was probably the best grand final I’ve seen for a very long time; credit to both sides for a game well played. You saw the raw emotion out there after the whistle blew, the players gave everything.
“I’m genuinely excited for the future of women’s touch rugby in Samoa; I’m excited at the talent coming through and most importantly, the quality of players coming through. These are great times for women’s touch rugby in Samoa”.
The National Provincial Championship for Samoa touch rugby is a key part of preparations for World Cup 2019, in Malaysia. Samoa touch rugby is currently ranked 5th in the world for mixed division, 7th in the open mens, reigning silver medalist for women’s and men’s South Pacific Games, and gold medalist for the mixed division.