Atua i Saute Rugby Union gets into gear
The heavy rain last Saturday did not dampen the enthusiasm for the long awaited start to the Atua I Saute Rugby 2019 competition at its brand new home, Vistra Sports Complex, Lepa.
The inaugural 15-a-side competition last Saturday was the second week of rugby following the 7-A-Side tournament the week before.
The first ever 15-a-side match at the newly completed field saw the Under 20 from Aufaga taking on and narrowly defeating the Saleapaga boys in a fiercely contested match with a final score of 3-0.
In the Senior A match, Tama Punefu from Lepa adjusted better to the conditions and under the leadership of Vaiofaga Mamoe and Esau Pele, beat the young, exciting team from Falevao 23 to 13.
The two villages again went head to head in the quest for the Under 20 Cup which Falevao had held since the 2018 season.
It was an exciting glimpse at the raw wtalent that is on offer for the future of Super 9 and Manu Samoa rugby provided the development pathways and supportive regimes are in place.
The Mt Fao boys put on a brave challenge, however on the back of a dominating performance by the Lepa forwards, Tama Punefu took the win with a convincing 22-8 score.
Iakopo and Fa’asua Poalaga, Zephaniah and Luatimu Tuilaepa, Teofilo Faleolo from Lepa plus Wayne Filoi and Farane Ah Sam from Falevao are some of the young exciting players to keep an eye on for the future.
The finale was the Shield Challenge between Saleapaga and Aufaga who snatched the coveted trophy from Saleapaga in the last round of the 2018 season.
Both teams featured some of the key players from the Atua Legends team, who placed third in the 2018 Super 9 competition.
The wet and slippery conditions meant a game featuring many set-pieces and tight, closely played rugby rather than the more exciting running open game.
While dominance see-sawed through-out, the final result saw the Tama o le Fai from Aufaga, holding on to the Shield for one more week with a narrow 8 to 5 win over Saleapaga. According to Atua I Saute President, Falanaipupu Setu Tuilaepa: “It’s a dream come true for our village and district to have an international standard field here.
We are excited to see the young emerging talent and the progress of senior players despite the limited resources here in the rural area.
The raw talent augurs well for the Atua Legends preparations for Super 9, provided we have the resources to support and develop these young men”.