10 November 2021 Apia Samoa 6pm. Updated 11 November 7am. Samoa Sevens and Manu 15s rugby star Johnny Vaili is confirmed banned from the upcoming Vodafone National Rugby 7’s series set to kick off this weekend 12th and 13th November 2021.
Tournament Director Seiuli Salesa Seiuli led the Lakapi Samoa press conference held at Tuanaimato Wednesday afternoon to publicise the series that will run over the next three months. He was joined by Lakapi Samoa Development and Competitions Manager, Taala Tui Komiti.
Asked if national 7s star Johnny Vaili will face disciplinary measures for his recent court appearances, Taala said there is a committee that looks into player disciplinary issues such as Vaili is facing, and a list of banned players has been distributed for the information of clubs.
He said the decision that Vaili is banned from the series has been made known to clubs.
“Manaia le fesili. O lo iai lava le komiti faapitoa ua ma’ea ona iloiloina tulaga ia i amio e pei o lē ua tā’ua.. o lo ua ma’ea foi ona faailoa i tua i kalapu le faaiuga ua iai lea tauleaela, ua ban ai mai le taamilosaga.”
Johnny Vaili has been dubbed Samoa’s try scoring machine with 31 tries and 163 points scored in 71 HSBC World Sevens series matches.
Vaili has made several appearances before the District Court of Samoa in recent weeks, and last week he pleaded guilty to charges of assault and being armed with a dangerous weapon, namely an axe, for an alcohol related incident. In a separate court case, he has pleaded not guilty to assaulting a woman who has written to the Court on his behalf to say she was to blame.
In an interview with Samoa National 7’s Head Coach Muliagatele Brian Lima, he said Johnny Vaili is a very talented player, but adds that he is also a player who has been given many chances for breaking disciplinary protocols.
In July 2020, the rugby 7s star was handed a 6-month ban after the village of Moataa filed a complaint about him, following an incident at Taumeasina Island Resort where he and others damaged property and threw furniture into the swimming pool.
“This son of Samoa is a talented player and has come a long way in his rugby development,” said Muliagatele. “But discipline and having respect in the Samoan culture is also very important for our players”.
Asked if Vaili would be considered again in the National Sevens squad, Muliagatele said that as a head coach, they have to abide by the decisions handed down by the Lakapi Samoa Disciplinary Committee.
“If bans have been set down for players, then coaches also need to abide by the disciplinary actions taken by the mother union”.
The Samoa National 7s series has been divided into six legs, with two tournaments to be played each month over the next three months.
The 2-day tournament kicks off this Friday 12th November, with another tournament the following week on the 19th-20th of November 2021.
That will be repeated with two consecutive weekends in December (10-11th and 17-18) as well as January 2022 (14-15 and 21-22).
Matches will be played at Apia Park Stadium and ACP Marist Stadium, Lotopa and aired on TV3 – Lakapi Samoa’s official television partner.