Vaimoso valiant in close Shield defeat as Samoa rugby honours Faiva Tagatauli
B.B.E. Vaiala Ulalei Sports Club retained the Apia Rugby Union Shield after a 13-10 win over Vaimoso HJ Keil Rugby Club at Tuanaimato yesterday.
It was an emotional day for the entire Union, with all games being dedicated to Faiva Tagatauli, a 27 year old Vaimoso flanker, who died on Thursday morning after a head injury sustained during their game against Vailele last Saturday.
Heavy rain throughout the day, including during much of the Shield match, meant conditions were difficult at the Samoa Rugby Union Fields, with large puddles all over the pitch.
Vaimoso coach Tuaolo Komiti Manuleleua said the rain and slippery conditions caused them some major problems.
“We’ve been working so hard trying to open play up against Vaiala.”
“The boys played well, you just never know where the ball will bounce to.”
He said it’s been a really tough week for the club and the players, with Tagatauli’s passing.
“It’s been really hard having lost a brother and a friend.”
“He’s always been an example to the boys since he’s a representative player, and has been playing for the team for so long.”
Tagatauli played for Samoa Under-20 in 2011, and has also played at the Super 9 level.
Tuaolo said he had to get the other players to try and forget about Faiva until the funeral next week, but at the same time they dedicated the game to him.
He said there was a lot of emotion in the team, and was proud they came so close to winning.
Despite finishing on the wrong end of the scoreboard, Vaimoso managed to score two tries in the game to Vaiala’s one.
“They managed to stand up and fight for themselves and Faiva,” Tuaolo said.
“I’m so happy as a coach, the boys stood up and we almost got there.”
He thanked the Apia Rugby Union and it’s other member clubs for dedicating the day to Faiva, and having moments of silence before each game.
“To all Samoa, Vaimoso, Faiva’s family, the whole rugby union staff and management, the media, we thank you for the support and all the love.”
Vaiala coach George Mariner said the club sends its condolences to both Vaimoso and Tagatauli’s family.
He said he spoke to his team specifically about Tagatauli’s passing in the leadup to the game.
“We told the boys to expect a physical game on Saturday because Vaimoso has something to really play for.”
“Kudos to Vaimoso for playing their hearts out for one of their members.”
Mariner said Vaimoso were so hungry to score that they made a few mistakes from rushing, so desperate were they to win.
Vaimoso dominated play for the final ten minutes or so of the game and looked likely to score, but knocked on several times during that period.
Again and again Vaiala were penalised for offside as they struggled to contain Vaimoso.
But they held on in the end, keeping the Shield and handing Vaimoso their first loss of the season.