Friday 30 December 2022, Apia Samoa. The Manu Samoa 7s Management and Players were invited to attend the Rugby League Samoa thanksgiving service on Thursday morning and in the spirit of showing support for their visiting brothers in the Toa Samoa team, the Cape Town Champs were also “more than happy” to walk in the parade when asked.
Manu Samoa Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Limā in response to questions from SGN said a member of the Rugby League Samoa Executive invited the team to march and out of respect for the brothers, they agreed to participate.
The five-time Rugby World Cup Manu Samoa International said they had no intention of getting in the way of the Toa Samoa parade, and only wanted to honour the invitation and show their support.
“Na uma loa le faigalotu alu atu le sui o le Rugby League Samoa valaaulia matou matou te sāvali. Sa faapea mai lava o le Toa Samoa o loo omai i taavale, ae o matou e join atu ma sponsors i luma o le FESA. Sa matou talia ma le fiafia.”
An article by a local radio station shared widely on social media states an un-named Rugby League Samoa staff member had said RLS were “caught by surprise when the Manu Samoa 7s squad turned up at the last minute..”
The article goes on to quote the un-named source saying, “They (Manu Samoa 7s) were first denied entry, given that there was little time to slot them into the Toa Samoa parade.. However, they were later given the green light to be part of the event.”
In response Head Coach Muliagatele said they are saddened by the report as it demeans their intention to honour the request by Rugby League Samoa, and takes away from what he says, was a great day of celebration between brothers.
“E tusa ai ma le report a le Eyespy o loo tā’ua ai le latou source, e lagona le faanoanoa. Masalo e ese le tagata lea na talanoa ma le Eyespy, ese le tagata o le RLS na valaauliaina matou e sāvali mai i le parade.”
“The Toa Samoa and the Manu Samoa are brothers, said Muliagatele, “and we participated to show our support, in the spirit of celebrating the end of 2022 and finishing off the year on a high note.”
Muliagatele said players from both teams enjoyed the fellowship and it is a shame some people have taken things out of context.
“We attended the parade to honour the invite and as a team, we were very happy to march alongside our major sponsors, IBFC [International Business Finance Centre]”.
“Ae o le vaitau o le fiafia, o le agaga lava ia, ia fai fiafia mea uma. E lē ese se atunuu e sau ai le Toa ese se atunuu e sau ai le Manu Samoa 7s. E tasi lava tā’ua, o tā’ua o le uso.”
The World Rugby hall-of-famer said this is the last week of 2022 and the Manu Samoa 7s players and management are happy to participate in this week’s events including the Government hosted dinner on Friday night, to celebrate the year’s success.
“O le vaiaso mulimuli lenei o le 2022, o le aotelega lea o lenei tausaga ua avea ai alo ma fanau o Samoa o ē sa tauina le taua mo Samoa e faatilia foe ma taualuga lenei tausaga i se taualuga fiafia ma le manuia.
The Manu Samoa Head Coach said he is disappointed with the news source because it can create a division between Toa Samoa and Manu Samoa, which he says does not exist.
“The spirit of the day was to end 2022 with a thanksgiving prayer, and to celebrate all the sons of Samoa who went into battle for their country, and have come out victorious”.
Muliagatele says there are no divisions between Toa Samoa and Manu Samoa and there never will be because they are brothers, united in fighting for Samoa.
“Ua pei o le vavamamao o Sasae ma Sisifo le mamao o le mea ua oo i ai le loto lē tusaai o loo aumai i lea lipoti, ma le māfana o loto ma agaga o le Toa Samoa ma le Manu Samoa. E uso tama, e uso tuofe e le taufeagai. Aisea? Ona o tama e faautagai i le manava o Samoa”.
In an effort to clear the air amongst fans in Samoa and around the globe, Muliagatele said it was important to set the record straight.
“It was a good day of celebration and there is no need to ruin it or try to make something out of nothing,” Muliagatele told SGN.
“The boys were more than happy to walk in the parade. We walked behind the banner of our major sponsors, IBFC, and the Chief Executive Officer, afioga Tuifaasisina Sieni walked with us..”
“It was a good way to end the year for us, to not only show our support for the Toa Samoa, but to also acknowledge our major sponsor..”
“Without IBFC there would be no Manu Samoa 7s.”
“The boys enjoyed themselves and it was good to get out and support the boys” added Muliagatele. “It was a good day.”
The Manu Samoa 7s Head Coach took the opportunity to thank the Government and People of Samoa for their ongoing support.
“As Samoa awaits the New Year, the Manu Samoa 7’s would like to say thank you Samoa for your support..
“From the Head of State and Council of Deputies, to the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Speaker and Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Judiciary, Faifeau and Faafeagaiga from all Denominations, Heads of Government and Businesses, and especially the People of Samoa, here in Samoa and in every corner of the world.. thank you for your support.”