The Tama Uli rugby club edged out brotherly rivals Tepatasi by 17-12 in an exciting final to secure back-to-back wins 🏆 at the FedPac Mataniu Feagaimaleata Sapapalii International Rugby 7s tournament.
The final was a repeat of last year’s inaugural Mataniu Feagaimaleata 7s, where Tama Uli and Tepa had also met at the finals.
With every local club lifting their level of performance with each tournament showcasing a mixture of exciting young talent and a former national players, Tama Uli had to fight their way to the top.
At the pool stages, the reigning champs just managed a 21-17 win over Siumi before meeting hosts Lupe Siliva Sapapalii at the quarterfinals on Day 1.
Backed by the strong tapuaiga of the village and Reverend Esera Auetama, Lupe Siliva looked to pull off the upset of the tournament in the first half, trailing by two tries to one, but the reigning champs pulled away in the second half to secure a 17-5 win.
All four quarterfinal matches were 14 minutes of edge-of-your-seat koko-maualuga events. Vaiala edged out Moataa by 14-7. Pacific Ezy Safotu edged past Uso Satalo by 22-17 while finalists Tepatasi had the same score, 22-17 against Apia Maroons.
Advancing to the quarterfinals was touch-n-go as Samoa’s local clubs continue to build their sides into consistently high performing teams, with every tournament presenting a mix of young and exciting talent, as well as veterans coming back to put up their hands up for selection in the all-local national squad.
Siumu, Uso Satalo, Moataa and Marist Pago all put up strong performances, and all missed out on advancing to the cup quarterfinals by a hairline of a margin.
With quarterfinals out of the way on Day 1, Tama Uli faced Pacific Ezy Safotu in the semi-final and won by 24-10. Tepatasi had a tougher semi that could have gone either way against a young Vaiala side led by Malo Luteru. Tepa held on to their lead with dear life to take out Blackie by 5-0.
Vaiala went on to beat Safotu 7-0 to secure third place.
The FedPac Mataniufeagaimaleata International Rugby 7s is an initiative of Reverand Esera Auatama Esera of the Sapapalii EFKS.
The tournament event committee was run by sons of Sapapalii – Chaired by Lakapi Samoa President Namulauulu Papalii Sami Leota, and directed by Papalii John Taimalelagi, with the assistance of Papalii Charlie Fruean overlooking finances.
Chairman Papalii Sami Leota acknowledged the support Lakapi Samoa. The tournament was once again run by the Lakapi Samoa team led by Seiuli Salesa Seiuli as the Events and Competitions Coordinator, and HPU Manager Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun.
Sponsorship of $20,000 tala from the Federal Pacific Group secured naming rights this year, however, Papalii Sami Leota says there have already been higher pledges by sponsors looking to secure naming rights next year.
Bank South Pacific was another major sponsor with $10,000 cash and $5,000 merchandise. Sapapalii village was painted green with volunteers, youth and matai all wearing the BSP sponsored uniforms.
Taula Beverages also continued its support of grassroots rugby as a sponsor. Taula’s Mulitalo Amosa Tupai spike at the event launch on behalf of sponsors, and assured the company’s ongoing support for Savaii’s youth through sports.
FedPac Mataniufeagaimaleata International Rugby 7s Sponsors 2023
Naming Rights: Federal Pacific Group.
Major Sponsors: Bank South Pacifi and NBS.
Supportive Sponsors: Taula Beverages Amoa Resort, Apia Lua, Telpac Engineering, SSAB, Digicel, Apia Lua Engineering.
The EFKS Church and it’s Tupulaga Talavou youth group also donated $7,000 tala.
TV3 aired the event live and all matches can be watched on the TV3 YouTube channel.