Lefaga win over Scopa highlights morning at Marist Sevens

By Thomas Airey 15 February 2019, 12:00AM

Defending champions Auckland Marist Samoa, Vaiala, Tepatasi, Mountfort Brothers and Tama Uli Salelologa all made strong starts on the morning of Day One at the Marist International Sevens Tournament.

But it was Lefaga who stole the show through the first round of play, with a 26-10 upset win over SCOPA and their three Fijian imports; Pio Tuwai, Nacanieli Batina and Joeli Lutumailagi.

Lefaga coach Onosai So’o said its the first time most of his players have played at this level.

“Lefaga is far away from town, but there is talent.”

He said coming here to showcase it at Marist was good for the players.

“It’s good for the boys to beat this team, who are at a high level.”

He said it would be a huge confidence boost to beat SCOPA, who were top seeds in the pool as quarterfinalists from last year.

Day One got underway with an entertaining 10-all draw between Auckland Samoa and Apia Maroons, with Auckland’s Olalini Tafaolua getting the first try of the tournament.

Auckland Marist then had a 31-10 win over Iva White Lions, cementing themselves among the tournament favourites with their ability to score from anywhere.

Fellow Pool 1 team Tabadamu, the four-time defending Fiji Marist Sevens champions, one-upped them later on with a 52-0 thrashing of the Savaii club.

Mountfort Brothers from New Zealand won 22-12 over the hosts Marist St Joseph’s to put them in pole position to qualify from Pool 7.

Coach Semo Sititi said they need to win every game, with just one team advancing to the quarterfinals from each pool.

“It was difficult to be honest, because they are the hosts they put everything on it.”

It is the first time they have come to the Marist Sevens, although three of their players have played at previous tournaments.

One of those players is captain Lafaele Vaa, who is working his way back from injury in the hope of regaining a place in the Manu Samoa 7s team.

He has been with the club just two weeks, having recently moved to New Zealand, and will play both 15s and 7s for them this season.

He said the team comes first, but he hopes to impress Manu coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and get selected.

By Thomas Airey 15 February 2019, 12:00AM

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