Christchurch dominate as Apia, Taga advance

The local women’s teams at the Marist International Sevens tournament impressed, but it was Christchurch Women’s Rugby who took pole position heading into Day Two.

They booked a semifinal spot with Pool 1 wins over Te Tai Tokerau, Apia Maroons and defending champions Auckland Samoa, where they await the winner of the preliminary final between Aana Blues and Auckland Samoa. The other semifinal will be contested between Pool 1 runners-up Apia Maroons and Taga Blowholes, the best performing local sides on Day One. Apia opened their campaign with a 10-10 draw in the first game of the tournament, followed by a 19-7 win over Te Tai Tokerau and a 15-7 loss to Christchurch.

Coach Toluiva Keneti Alapati said they were expecting better results.

“We have our gameplan, didn’t really stick to it in the first game.”

But she said the team got better as the day went on, and were more than competitive in what looked like a tough pool before the tournament.

“It proves that we’re getting there,” Toluiva said.

“We’re here to win.”

Apia will have to get past Taga Blowholes, the first and only women’s team from Savaii to compete at the Marist Sevens, who scored 52 points and conceded zero over their two games on Day One.

Taga coach Fetuao Elu Tamala said the Taga boys had previously had so many chances at the tournament, they thought they might as well bring the girls.

She said she was pleased with the Day One results, having challenged her team to compete well.

“Even though we are underdogs, nobody has heard of us, when we go in there make sure you do your best.”

She said the tough opposition tomorrow will only be good for exposure.

Four of the team live on Savaii at the moment, while the majority have moved to Upolu to study at the National University of Samoa.

Tamala said those students used to play schoolgirl rugby on Savaii, but they isn’t really any club rugby for women on the big island.

“Having them exposed to this kind of tournament is an awesome opportunity for them.”

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