BlueSky Savai’i 7s provides platform for talent
The BlueSky Savai'i 7s tournament has grown from strength to strength since its inception a decade ago and provides a platform for talent.
From small beginnings at the Prince Edward Park at Iva in Savai'i in 2009, the tournament has not only grown but become a platform for the identification of national talent over the years.
So says the Savai'i 7s tournament director, Reverend Tonu Mauafu, of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Iva Savaii.
“The tournament started back in 2009,” said Reverend Tonu.
“The main purpose of the tournament [was] to develop the talents of [Savaii youths] in terms of rugby.
“This tournament offers the opportunity for them to showcase their talents and it helps them gain experience by learning from other players and coaches and most importantly, it enhances their skills and knowledge on how to play the game professionally and they can get picked to represent our country overseas.”
Establishing local rugby clubs in Savaii was one of the tournament's first aims.
“We are so happy to see this dream becomes a reality as there are now established clubs here in Savaii which can provide the opportunity to develop the talents and skills of our boys.
“Most of these boys are school dropouts, but they have so much potential and passion for the game of rugby.
“Therefore, they make the sacrifice of leaving their families here in Savai'i behind and head to Upolu to play for other rugby clubs such as Marist, Vaiala just to name a few.
“However, now that we have established rugby clubs here, our boys don’t have to travel to Apia.”
The tournament has uncovered plenty of otherwise undiscovered raw talents who have been given the opportunity to play for Samoa’s national team, says Reverend Mauafu.
“There are currently 7 players from this tournament who are now representing Samoa in the Manu Samoa 7s team. These are players were selected from teams who took part in this tournament and whose skills were nurtured through this tournament.”
There has been a lot of positive feedback about the tournament over the years, according to Reverend Mauafu.
“And that motivates us to keep doing," he said.
Nevertheless, the tournament has provided a fun day for the whole family with bouncing castle for the children and corporate tables for V.I.P guests and business communities.
“The main purpose is to make sure everyone enjoys a fun day of good rugby and provide fun for the whole family.
“Gone are the days where people come to rugby tournaments in Savaii to look for trouble and start a fight.
“Back in the days, boys mainly join a rugby team just so they can get something and start drinking beer and cause trouble. But that’s not the case anymore.
“We want our children to mingle with other youths and get to make new friends and play the game they all love. ”
Finally, Reverend Mauafu wanted to acknowledge the assistance of Bluesky Company for funding the tournament.
“This is the fifth year of our partnership with BlueSky. This tournament cost a lot of money, but it is all worth it and it's all thanks to BlueSky.
“For this year, BlueSky has given $58,000 to fund the tournament.”
For this year, 16 teams competed in the tournament; 6 teams from Upolu and 10 from Savaii.
The defending champions Tolotolo-ole-Tamauli team from Salelologa played against the A’ana Chiefs team from Upolu in the finals.
After a tough competition between the two teams, A’ana Chiefs team are returning to Upolu as champions of Bluesky Savaii 7s 2019.