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Academy promotes education, rugby message

Rugby Academy Samoa (R.A.S.)’s Saturday sessions for children between five and 19 years old are back in full swing for 2020 at the Lepea Field.

The programme started in 2014, and over the years manager, Leituala Joe Chan Ting, has watched players grow under R.A.S.’s watch.

“A good example is Timo Fiti, he just played his first game for Japan last weekend in the Hamilton Sevens,” Leituala said.

Other Academy graduates have made it to clubs and schools in Europe and Japan, with R.A.S. facilitating them getting overseas scholarships.

“It’s been our plan to have R.A.S. as another opportunity for kids to progress through not only rugby, but also education-wise,” Leituala said.

“Education takes you further, the rugby is the bonus.”

Leituala said around 200 children have made it to the first two sessions this year, and there were about 300 in the Academy’s database for 2019.

The coaching staff features Manu Samoa legends Mase Mahonri Schwalger and Galumalemana George Stowers, as well as the Academy’s first female coach in Angela Coombes.

Leituala said they focus on teaching the basics first and foremost.

“How to pass, how to run, how to catch,” he said.

“We always try to hammer in the basics, once the kids master that, anything can happen.”

Each Saturday session costs $5 tala per participant, which along with donations and the management's own money make the programme possible.

“We don’t have funds to run this, but we still keep it going because of our genuine drive to improve rugby in Samoa,” said Leituala, welcoming anyone to donate to the Academy.

"Grassroots programmes like R.A.S. are vital for the future of rugby in Samoa."

Longstanding sponsors include Sisters of the Lady Nazareth, Taula, Samoa Commercial Bank, Digicel, Fata Loibl Family, Bluesky, Vailima, Happy Kids, Mariyon, Island Rock, SSAB, RnJ McKenzie, Orator Hotel, Devondale Milk, National Bank of Samoa, Ah Liki Construction, Pepe Christian Fruean, Delicious Cakes, Bank of the South Pacific, Pasifika Inn Hotel, US Consulate Office Samoa, SMI, ANZ Bank, Pasefika Ezy Money, Business Services Limited, Schwalger Family, Stowers Family, Seruvakula Family, Lesa Family, Poliko Family, Johnston Family and more.

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