Decimated Apia Park pitch forces P.G. sevens venue change
The Pacific Games rugby 7s will now be played at A.C.P. Marist St Joseph’s Sports Stadium in Lotopa on Friday and Saturday, after Apia Park was deemed unfit to host the competition by World Rugby, the Samoa Rugby Union and the Pacific Games Office.
The playing surface at Apia Park has taken on a lot of rain over the past week, and the pitch has not held up at all after the opening ceremony on Sunday night, followed by rugby league 9s on Monday and Tuesday.
Apia Park’s suitability as a venue was assessed, and the International Federation Technical Delegate from World Rugby, the Samoa Rugby Union and the Pacific Games Office decided to relocate to Marist Stadium.
Apia Park remains slated to host athletics next week.
The sevens venue change has forced a revision to the schedule as well, with games now set to begin at 8 am as Marist Stadium does not have the lights to host night games.
It is a disappointing development for the rugby sevens competition, which likely would have drawn a big crowd to Apia Park.
The 2019 Pacific Games 7s tournament is a rare opportunity to watch Samoa’s national teams on home soil; for example the Manu Samoa 7s last played in Samoa during the 2011 Oceania Championships.
It remains to be seen how the change in venue will affect the amount of people that can attend the sevens, but Marist Stadium’s capacity is clearly significantly lower than Apia Park’s.