Kiwi clubs takes the game to the villages

By Gutu Faasau 19 September 2023, 7:30PM

A New Zealand rugby club with mostly Samoan heritage players is eager to promote the sport and go up against some of the local rugby teams in a test of skill and physicality.

The Vice President of the Otahuhu Rugby Club in Auckland, Vui Kelemete Vitale is in Samoa organising this trip for the U-14 boys and girls rugby tour to promote the sport and for his young players to get some experience.

They are here for about nine days before they return to New Zealand after a series of rugby matches against school rugby teams from Upolu and Savai'i.

It is through the Ministry of Education and Culture that they were presented with the opportunity to bring their U-14 rugby team to Samoa. Their first game was on Tuesday at Falealili district with all the schools in Falealili selecting their teams to go up against the visitors.

They will be in Savai'i on Thursday this week where they will be playing a game at Ituatane followed by their main match against the Savai'i 15s at Savai'i Asau.

“The whole idea is to take the sport to the villages where it’s not like the township area where many opportunities are not presented to them, unlike schools in town. We try to take the game to the schools in the rural areas,” he said

“This is Otahuhu Rugby Club and there are about half a dozen different schools involved at the club 90 per cent of the people on this trip are Samoans and they are here to bring the game to their cousins, friends and families here in Samoa at their age to promote rugby.

“Gone are the days of the Fuge, the Ulu and the Pulu which was used to play rugby and now we are hoping to bring some rugby balls and supplies many other teams have done this and we just want to be a part of that movement to help the local rugby,” said Vui.

2013 was the last time they visited and it was only the boy’s rugby team. This time around, they have a team for girls who are equally eager and excited to go up against the local teams.

“Hopefully next year Samoa can bring a rep team to New Zealand and we can organise games for them. The idea is that one year we come here, next year they come to New Zealand and so forth. Alternate each year.

There will be two other extra games for Upolu and Savai'i in tag rugby for the boys and girls. The final match will be against the Samoa reps for the U-14s against the visiting team from New Zealand which will be played at Apia Park on Wednesday next week.

By Gutu Faasau 19 September 2023, 7:30PM
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