From the PM to the CJ, they all played rugby for the Marist Sports Club

As Marist Sports Club heads towards celebrating its 45 th anniversary on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend, we will feature a series of articles to pay tribute to the sports club’s contribution to the sports and human development in Samoa.

APIA: TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2015: The question whether the Chairman of Samoa’s Rugby Union (S.R.U) who is also Samoa’s Prime Minister, had ever played rugby before has popped up on many occasions.

There has always been a perception that only those who have played rugby should be involved in the administration of rugby.

Local rugby administrators would confirm that only those who have played rugby should be involved in rugby management. In short, to be an effective rugby administrator, one must have played rugby.

This was the same question also that was posed when Fepuleai Ameperosa Roma was nominated to be the Secretary of S.R.U. some years ago.

S.R.U. Vice Chair, Lefau Harry Schuster however, confirmed that Fepuleai had played rugby at Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club.

Many did not know also that Fepuleai had also played for Samoa College and Alafua Rugby Club before he was appointed the Secretary of S.R.U. A post he held for seven years before he was appointed a District Court judge two years ago.

Coming back to Tuilaepa, the same question has always been asked of him – did he ever play rugby?

Anyone who knows of or had attended a Marist Brothers’ school, especially in Samoa would attest that everyone who had attended a Marist school played rugby.

Those who you never would have thought had played rugby before given the game’s physicality had indeed played rugby if they had attended a Marist Brothers’ school – especially since it was the Marist Brothers who brought the sport of rugby to Samoa.

For example, the current Controller and Auditor General, Fuimaono Papalii Camillo Afele was a lock at St Joseph’s College before he went on to Otago University where he continued his rugby career.

The principal of LDS Pesega College, Laulu Tuugatiti Leauanae (a devout Mormon) was a formidable flanker for St Joseph’s College’s 1st XV.

Te’o Richard Faaiuaso, one of Samoa’s top lawyers was a flying winger who continued to blaze the rugby fields when he went to Victoria University.

Even Samoa’s Chief Justice Patu Falefatu Sapolu, a former Marist student, was a fearless front rower during his playing days whilst studying in Auckland.

Not many also know that the current coach of Manu Samoa, Stephen Betham, whilst a Vaiala Rugby Club stalwart, had also played as a hooker for Marist.

Associate Minister Tafua Maluelue was also an outstanding rugby player for Marist in the 1970s. Around the same time, Lautafi Selafi Purcell (Minister of Public Enterprises) was an outstanding flanker cum outside centre for Marist.

Another Associate Minister, Sooalo Mene was also a strong forward player for St Joseph’s College.

The current CEO of S.R.U, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai was a feisty half back for Marist SJ Sports Club in his younger days before being selected to play for Manu Samoa.

So obviously, Tuilaepa had played rugby since he had attended Marist Brothers’ Primary School and St Joseph’s College in Samoa.

At St Joseph’s College, Tuilaepa was also the Head Boy and Dux before taking up Seventh Form, in New Zealand where he attended St Paul’s College, Auckland. At St Paul’s College, he had played wing for the college’s rugby team.

At the launch of Marist St Joseph’s Sports Club’s 45th Anniversary Celebrations, Tuilaepa explained how he had to place his St Paul’s rugby team photo at his office in a position where it can be easily seen by those who come to see him.

He said that strategically positioning the photo was necessary to show that he had played rugby before.

The St.Paul's College Rugby Team with Tuilaepa seated far right in the front row

The St.Paul’s College Rugby Team with Tuilaepa seated far right in the front row

“One of my visitors was impressed with the photo and that was Rev. Lale Ieremia,” Tuilaepa said. “I was asked by Rev. Ieremia where and how I got the photo of Auckland’s regional team.”

“Rev. Ieremia had wrongly assumed that I had played for Auckland’s regional team since the photo was black and white and that St. Paul’s rugby team uniform had similar stripes like that of the Auckland’s regional team,” Tuilaepa explained. “I did not even bother to clarify that the photo was St Paul’s rugby team to correct Rev. Ieremia’s wrong assumptions.”

For those of you who do not know, Rev Ieremia is an ex-rugby player, retired church minister, former Chair of E.F.K.S Church and father of famous ex-All Black Namulauulu Alama Ieremia.

Tuilaepa was involved with Herbert Clarke in the merger of the two Marist Brothers rugby clubs, namely Marist Rugby Club and St Joseph’s Rugby Club in 1970. He was also one of the founders of Apia West Rugby Union which later led to him being elected to be the Chairman of S.R.U, a position he has held up to now.

Therefore in honour of such contribution by Marist to rugby in Samoa, it is appropriate that the MSJ Sports Club would pay tribute to those who had played for the club (past and present); honour those who have assisted the club these past years, especially the sponsors; and to raise funds to help with the club’s development and projects to keep that Marist brotherhood through rugby alive.

MSJ Sports Club invites all families and friends to join the club’s 45th Anniversary Celebrations from 30th October to 1st November 2015.

The 45th Anniversary celebrations include:
(a) March pass in town of the Marist fraternity (those who attended Marist schools in both Samoa and overseas) and players (past and present) on the morning of Friday 30th October 2015;
We will all gather at the Fire & Emergency Services’ car park at 8am before we march to the front of Government Building, Eleele Fou. Our uniform will be white shirts and navy blue lavalava.
(b) Tusigāigoa of players (past and present) of the club and their families in front of Government Building at Eleele Fou from 10am to 3pm on Friday 30th October 2015 which will also be broadcast live on radio;
(c) Sports Day for all its members, supporters, sponsors and Marist fraternity on the morning of Saturday 31st October 2015 at Lotopa (touch rugby, soccer, netball, etc) and golf at Faleata Golf Course;
Please contact Sports Committee
(d) Cocktail at 4pm on Saturday 31st October 2015 at the club’s hall at Lotopa; and
(e) Mass and Toonai (B.Y.O) on Sunday 1st November 2015 at Mulivai Cathedral and the club’s hall at Lotopa, respectively.

For more information, please contact:
Laulu Henry Taefu (ph: 7574730 or email:, To’omata Sita Leota (ph: 7712777 or email:, Misa Vicky Lepou (ph: 20072 or email: