Marist growing rugby throughout Samoa
The Marist International Sevens tournament gives local players a chance to showcase their talents and skills.
So says Tournament Director, Fata Brian Kaio, following another hugely successful tournament this year.
“National selectors will not be able to see local talented players if it wasn’t for Marist,” Fata told the Samoa Observer.
“The level and caliber of the Marist tournament is quite intense, it’s a quality tournament. So to be able to prove to yourself for national selection, Marist is the tournament to be in.”
Fata pointed to the rise of a number of village teams who have used the tournament as a springboard.
“This year you see Satalo and Lefaga, they made it to the cup quarterfinals that has never happened in Marist before. So that’s the platform that Marist can give, to give these teams a chance to shine.”
Another first was a team from Savai’i, the Tama Uli from Salelologa making the final against a Fijian team.
Fata said this year was different from previous years because of the number of international teams that participated and the Marist outreach programme.
“More teams come over and is good for the tournament. It’s a good opportunity for our local girls to play against.
“Our local teams struggle with jerseys and other rugby materials, so we’ve seen the girls’ team from New Zealand and the local rugby team they have gone to schools and donated.
“One aspect of the tournament is the Marist outreach programme. Marist is about the development of sports, and now we are reaching out to all international teams coming from overseas to help the local teams.
“That’s one great aspect of the tournament this year, is the Marist outreach programme. The community engagement ends up providing gears for teams. On Friday the Pacific Players Association from Europe donated a full set of uniform for the Taga Savaii ladies.”
Fata also acknowledged the sponsors of the tournament, especially Vailima for contributing to the success of the tournament.
“Marist is about rugby and also honour those who are committed.
“This tournament cost not less than $200,000 but the mileage and what this tournament can do for the development of sports is huge.
“It’s a costly undertaking but Marist is committed in the development of sports.”
Fata also commended the crowd in creating a great atmosphere during the games.
“Vailima Tabadamu brought a different flavor to the tournament.
“There were 24 teams for the men and seven teams for the women. There are five teams for the men from Savaii and five from overseas.”