The Vaiala Ulalei club took out the 2022 Tepatasi Sunrise 7s after a close final against the tournament hosts.
Pacific Ezy Tepatasi got through Pacific Ezy Safotu in the semifinal, and then fought hard against BBE Vaiala in the final infront their home crowd at Samusu Primary School in Aleipata.
At full time the score was levelled at 12-12 and it came down to the side who could minimise mistakes and capitalise on opportunities.
In the end it would be Vaiala’s Malo Luteru who put on his elusive side-step in mid-field to throw off the Tepatasi defense.
The youngster from Uafato who has been training in the wider squad of the Manu Samoa 7’s cut through the Tepa defense and found himself under the sticks to secure the final and $3000 tala prize money for his club.
On the way to the final Luteru scored two second half tries to edge out Marist St Joseph’s in the semifinal by a close margin of 17-12.
Luteru was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament for his efforts.
Vaiala’s Management team includes Coaches Viliamu Punivalu and Lelepa Niue Titi as well as George Mariner and Aotearoa Pesamino Mayer.
Tepatasi featured two teams in the tournament, their main team and a development side. Manu Samoa 7s wider squad member Pelasio Viliamu was Tepa’s stand out player this weekend but he was missing Faafoi Falaniko who had been recalled to the travelling 14.
Nine teams competed in the Tepatasi Sunrise 7s this year. A drop due to the number of teams on tour in New Zealand to attend the Marist St Joseph’s 7s in Auckland.
Vailima Marist St Joseph’s won the 3rd place final over Safotu and Lulumaivini Ulutogia took out 4th place.
President of the Aleipata Rugby Union and Coach of Tepatasi, Reverend Malo Sefo, acknowledged the tournament sponsors and thanked the Lakapi Samoa HPU Manager, Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun and Events Coordinator Seiuli Salesa, who helped with the tournament logistics.
Reverend Malo also thanked the President of Referees Association Aiolupotea Alan and the team of referees for their hard work throughout the day.
The next leg of the Vodafone Narional 7’s is this weekend at Apia Park.