Lack of resources fails to deter young ruggers

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 14 April 2024, 9:00PM

The Zone D finals rugby competition held at Wesley College on Friday saw young boys and girls show off their skills in U14, U16, and U18 categories in a 15 aside game. 

Schools such as Wesley College, Aaana No.2 College, Leulumoega College, and Safety College participated in the tournament.

The President of the Zone D Rugby organisation, Reverend Ali’ilelei Lefua, was present to witness the competition. He commended the players for their improvement and the way they played. 

"With each year the competition has been held, I have seen the improvement in the children and the way they play, even those who help coach and manage the children - it has come a long way," said Rev Ali’ilelei.

However, assistant coaches, Taimi Pepe and Tinei Aunei Ulufanua, shared that their girls' team lacked resources during their preparation stages ahead of the competition like many other non-government-funded schools. 

"We use some of the girls' shoes as cones because we sometimes can't get any cones for training," said Pepe.

"Whatever equipment is left after the boys use it, that is the equipment we use, which is usually just cones," added Pepe. 

They had stepped up in their roles as coaches in the last couple of weeks when one of the head coaches could no longer take the team due to a health issue. 

"It's not that we complain about not having any resources, but it would be helpful if we did have some for our girls," said Tinei. 

However, despite that and the lack of resources, the Wesley College U14 girls won against Leulumoega College 20-15, while the Wesley College U16 girls won against Aana No.2 College 29-5.

"The girls were taught the game plan during training and it's led to us winning so it makes me happy," said Pepe. 

The game plan consisted of a triangle theory with three main key areas: fitness, mind, and discipline, which the coaches thought the girls had implemented on and off the field. 

The coaches, who are also Wesley College teachers, said they start training from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. They do this to ensure that the players become the best team they can be, regardless of the lack of resources.

"We also wouldn't have been able to do it with the help of our head coaches, Kenrick Ken and Vasa Sio Liu," added Tinei. 

According to the assistant coaches, the Champions of Champions tournament will be held in two weeks, during which all schools from different zones come together to showcase their talent and compete for who comes out on top.

The players who stood out in the tournament from their perspective teams were Aterine Falaniko in the U14s and Mataifono Aukuso in the U16s, from the villages of Levi and Saleimoa.

Aterine, who plays number eight, enjoys playing rugby because her family plays rugby. "I will continue to play rugby probably until I leave high school. I really like how the training challenges me to be better," said Aterine.

Meanwhile, winger Mataifono, who scored two tries in their game against Aana No.2, expressed her happiness at their victory. "I feel pretty happy that we won. All the training over the past three weeks paid off," said Mataifono.

Both players aspire to play for the Manusina. "I want to be able to support my family, my village, and especially Samoa in the future," added Mataifono. Despite the lack of resources, the love for the sport and the desire to excel shone through in Samoa's young rugby players.

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 14 April 2024, 9:00PM
Samoa Observer

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