Post-game scuffle at Sevens final
Saturday’s championship game for the 2021 Matafala Siumu Sevens Series final ended with angry scenes and a scuffle at the Palalaua College rugby field.
Players, spectators, and match officials were all caught up in the melee after Fausaga defeated Sataoa 22–19.
Spectators watching the match from outside the gate were quick to rush onto the field and heckle and shout at match officials.
But the Matafala Siumu rugby club board and village matai responded quickly to the outbreak of tensions and put them to a halt.
The dispute began after the Sataoa team refused to take their loss lightly and complained about how the game was officiated. But the team’s management joined in the effort to calm the situation and was able to prevent the incident from getting further out of hand.
After tensions cooled, the game ended with both teams reconciling, congratulating and embracing each other. The series final ended with both teams visiting their opposition supporters’ camps to thank them for being a part of the series.
The President of the Matafala Siumu Sevens series said that post-game conflicts were a common issue across sport.
"Things like this happen in sports, but we will make sure that this doesn't happen again," says Misatauveve Iosefo Tofaeono.
Misatauveve said in future tournaments, the club will be more alert and ensure the safety of spectators.
"Despite this little issue, I am happy to say that I am very proud of the efforts the players have put into today's final match,” the President said.
“I know that they will not let these small misunderstandings get in the way of the good relationship they have built in the three weeks of the series,”
Misatauveve acknowledged the hard work performed by match officials under Saturday’s hot sun, and thanked them for helping to run the series.
"God bless your work and all that you do," he said.
The tournament began with only six teams in the first week, but by its final week, 16 teams had joined the series, something Misatauveve said was a huge improvement for the club series.