The Aana Chiefs have edged out the boys from the Big Island in their own backyard to take the championship trophy of the Bluesky Iva Savaii Sevens held at Prince Edward Park in Salelologa.
The Tama Uli Salelologa side put up a good fight but the visitors from Upolu proved to be the better side on the day, coming away with a close 10-5 win.
Team Manager of Aana Chiefs Taito Louis Lene said the whole competition was tough with a marked improvement seen across the board from all teams in Savaii.
“It was very tough, especially this is in Savaii and the other Savaii teams were great this weekend;
“We knew it was a tough competition but we were also confident that we could win”.
Taito said Aana Chiefs had come close several times during the SRU 7s Series and were happy to finally come away with the win this time.
Taito says there was a good mix of experienced players and new blood in the team, with Samoa 7s international Tulolo Tulolo being a key part of their success.
“Player of the tournament, Tulolo Tulolo who is also our captain was instrumental throughout the tournament and all our elimination games were close.”
The Chiefs Manager thanked Tama Uli Salelologa and aknowledged Iva as hosts.
“Thank you to Tama Uli and their management for a tough tournament. They have been the top team for some time now. We also wish to thank IVA for hosting this amazing tournament. We will be back next year to defend the cup,” added Taito.
The Aana Chiefs beat Saasaai in the Quarter Final 12-5 before eliminating Tepatasi in the Semi Final by 14-7.
Tama Uli Salelologa had beaten Lupe Siliva 28-0 in the Cup Quarterfinal and took out the Laulii Lions by 17-5 in the Semis.
Head Coach for Tama Uli Salelologa Matamua Junior Salima also acknowkedged the tough final and congratulated the Aana Chiefs for the win.
“It was a tough final and credit to Chiefs Management;
“We were our own worst enemy today with some poor decision making in the end. We cant afford that in 7’s especially playing with a tough team like Aana Chiefs;
“Our apologies to our fans as we came up short today;
“We acknowledge all our sponsors that willinging supported us in 2019. Fa’afetai i le tapuaiga a Tapaau ma Salelologa.
Matamua says it is time to regroup and prepare for 2020 tournaments now.