Tabadamu triumph at Marist Sevens
Fijian club Tabadamu won the Marist International Sevens Tournament yesterday, taking the Tupua Fred Wetzell Trophy after a 22-10 win over Tama Uli Salelologa in the final.
The Fijians started the final poorly, struggling to adapt to the wet and muddy condition of the ground.
They knocked on several times, and Tama Uli had them pegged back inside their own 22.
But Tabadamu found their way into the game through excellent defence, eventually forcing Salelologa back over halfway.
Once they got some ball in an attacking position, the Fijian club stretched Tama Uli to the left, then the right and got over the try line, but the ball was held up through some excellent desperate defence.
They scored from the subsequent scrum, with Daniel Tavua crossing to break the deadlock.
After a Tama Uli yellow card, Tabadamu scored again right on halftime through Luke Lutunavanua, taking the score out to 10-0.
The second half opened with a knock on by the team from Savaii, and Lutunavanua grabbed his second off the back of the scrum that followed.
Manu Samoa 7s winger Elisapeta Alofipo got Tama Uli’s first try, after a yellow card for Tabadamu meant they had the superior numbers out wide.
With the score at 17-5, Leo Nakaisau scored for Tabadamu to end any real hopes of a comeback from the locals.
Asovale Lauso’o showed good pace to grab another consolation try for Tama Uli near the end of the game.
Tabadamu manager Rajesh Singh said it was an awesome feeling to win the tournament.
“We thank the Lord, we thank the supporters and we thank Marist for inviting us.”
He said the victory was for the fans, whose vocal support got them over the line.
“The local Fijian community were here, and they came and helped us.”
“Whenever we come and play in Samoa, it will always be a tough game.”
Singh said the team could only bring 10 players after two were not released from the national team, but the boys were determined and focussed.
“Our aim was to come and win the tournament here.”
He said it sets them up well going into the Fiji Marist Sevens next month, for which they are the four-time defending champions.
Tama Uli manager Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun said his team are still proud of themselves.
“Our goal was just to be in the top eight, to be the runner-up is a bonus for us.”
He said their tournament hopefully sends the message that you can succeed with local players.
“Some of the teams in the competition have brought in their impact players.
“But we’re confident in the players we have.”
Seumanu said he told the boys they are the team to beat in Samoa at the moment, with this result added to their Samoa Rugby Union Sevens Series win from last year.
“We’re looking forward to coming back stronger next year, we still have a young team.”
Apia Maroons came third in the overall competition, with Vaimoso, Auckland Marist and Vaiala winning the Spoon, Tanoa and Plate respectively.