Frankie 7s the start of Savaii club rugby season

TA
By Thomas Airey, 17 January 2019

Rugby in Savaii kicks off tomorrow with the first leg of the Frankie 7s tournament, organised by the Fa’asaleleaga Rugby Union.

Union president Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun said they are inviting all the teams in Savaii to come and compete.

“We’ve been doing this the last three years, and for the first time it’s now very structured and we have Frankie Supermarkets on board as the major sponsor.

“In the past registration from the clubs is all we have had to cover costs, but now we will be able to offer prize money.”

He said the assistance from Frankie also means the Union can pay for referees to come over from Upolu.

The sevens tournament will run over three weeks, followed by six weeks of 10’s rugby.

Seumanu said the circuits are a preseason for the main 15’s competition starting afterwards.

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He said things are changing for rugby in Savaii since he became president of Fa’asaleleaga.

“When I first came back in 2016 to start building the Union, we had nothing, not even a bank account.”

He also said Savaiians never used to make the Samoa national teams, and had to go over to Upolu to further their careers and get noticed.

“But now we are seeing some good results, with Tama Uli Salelologa winning the national title and five players getting contracted with the Manu Samoa 7s.”

Tama Uli Salelologa’s Ricky Ene, Elisapeta Alofipo and Kerisimasi Savaiinaea all played for Samoa on the first two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series.

“That’s our ultimate goal, to get our guys playing in those teams so the younger generation grow up knowing they can do it as well,” Seumanu said.

“For us smaller unions it’s harder to get the support we need from sponsors.

“But now companies are taking notice.”

Twelve teams will compete in the Frankie 7s Leg 1, which kicks off at 8am tomorrow at Don Bosco field in Salelologa.

TA
By Thomas Airey, 17 January 2019

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