Samoa Tag growing in support

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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Winners of the Open Mix: Tau Taula Strong.

Winners of the Open Mix: Tau Taula Strong.

The Samoa Tag held their third one-day tournament this year at Marist Mulivai over the weekend.

This tournament saw an emphasis on engaging the business community who put forth eight teams. 

The event was important to the Samoa Tag body having brought over overseas referees as well as the founder of New Zealand Tag, Wally Tooman. Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the President for Samoa Tag Incorporated, Faaofonuu Junior Leota, said the tournament was a special one. 

“This tournament was pretty important because we brought over some overseas referees. Wally Tooman was also here and he was the man who founded New Zealand Tag. He came over to run clinics such as referee and coaching clinics. They were here for a week and what they did collectively was use their knowledge and experience to help our people.

“The whole point of Saturday was to gain more interest from businesses to play tag. We want to keep on introducing one-day tournaments to keep up the momentum of the sport. Next year we would like to look into a four-week module tournament. 

“We had B.S.P., S.C.B., J.I.B.B. Company (car sales), N.R.L. office, Samoa Airways, Samatau Village Ltd, Le Tuiga Studios and it was great to see the New Zealand High Commission put in a team as well.”

According to Faaofonuu, it was encouraging to see that some teams from their previous tournaments had shown a lot of improvement.

“It went really well, it was full of surprises and all teams from second tournament improved immensely,” he said. 

“Le Tuiga came in and made the finals and the Avengers made the finals for the first time because of their hard work. They are always on the field training and they did their homework. All that hard work paid off, so it was really awesome. We had a lot of supporters who came out to support us. The numbers were very high in this tournament.”

Part of having monthly tournaments is to prepare teams for the international tournament coming up in September as part of the Teuila Festival. 

Samoa will host Tag teams from New Zealand and Australia and not only will it boost the profile of Tag Samoa, it will also be another feature event to attract more visitors to Samoa.

“Since we are not going to the World Cup, we needed to create a platform for Samoa Tag and get other Pacific Islands to come to Samoa for a regional competition and further to add promote tourism to our country.”

The President of Tag Samoa sees a lot of potential in promoting Tag in Samoa as a sport used in the development of rugby in this country.

“Our organisation is only a year old but Tag has been around for 30 years. So far in Samoa it’s been an awesome response because of its similarities to touch rugby and rugby league, it’s basically the best bits of rugby into one sport.

“I used to play rugby at a high level and if Tag was established back then in school, the skill level of our athletes would have been high and then they could have passed it onto league and rugby. It’s good for the generation now to develop their skills. 

“Tag is not a professional sport; we play it for enjoyment and for the fun of it. It’s also very inclusive. Anyone can play it and we have this two points system so that when the girls score, they only get two points to encourage fluidity and inclusivity in the open tournaments. 

“My opinion is if I was a girl wanting to play league or rugby for Samoa, I would play tag because you can transform the skill set from tag to rugby and league. Coaches will be looking for those skills sets.”

 

Tag Samoa Tournaments results:

Open grade:

1st: Taula Breweries

2nd place: Tau Cappella Avengers

3rd place: Tau Tag Apia Maroons

4th: Tau Tag Warriors 

 

Business tournament:

1st: NRL office

2nd: Le Tuiga 

3rd: Samatau Ltd 

4th Samoa Water Authority

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