APIA: MONDAY 28 JANUARY 2012: The Samoa Rugby Union has launched its promotion and sponsorship drive to fund both its Sevens and 15s teams targeting the elite competitions such as the 2013 Sevens World Cup in Russia, the 2015 World Cup in England, the 2016 Sevens as an Olympic sport in Rio de Janiro and the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
The drive was launched by the Union Chairman and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi with a promotional video that documents Samoan rugby’s successes when its team – Manu Samoa announced its arrival on the world stage in 1991 with a victory in Cardiff Arms Park against Wales. The video also highlights the contribution of many Samoan players to world rugby who represent teams such as England, the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks.
Produced by Apulu Lance Polu of Talamua Media and David Unoi of Jandal Media, the video also highlights the Sevens achievements that won the IRB Sevens in 2010, the victory over Australia a few months to the 2011 World Cup and a very the successful Northern hemisphere tour last year that defeated Canada and Wales for the fourth time, and lost narrowly to France.
The Union Chairman said that they are now targeting potential overseas sponsors as the team needs regular exposure by playing top rugby nations in order to raise the standards and level of competition.
While Samoa has been the breeding ground for some of the world class rugby players, limited funding through the Government and local corporate sponsors can hardly meet the costs of producing a high level and world class rugby team.
Tuilaepa said that the overseas Samoan missions in Australia, Japan, China, the US, Europe and other countries will be used to promote the video to solicit sponsors.
Speaking in the video, rugby legend and IRB Hall of Fame inductee Brian Lima said that with the proper funding, Manu Samoa can beat any tier one rugby team and has the potential to win the World Cup. Now the Coach of Samoa A, the homegrown rugby player who at 19 was the youngest player of the 1991 World Cup, said there’s a lot of local talent that need proper resources to develop and bring out the best for the world to see. Lima is the only player to have played in 5 world cups from 1991 to 2007.
Samoan rugby players are spread across the world in Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand and an important source of funds for the country through remittances that remains the country’s number one foreign revenue earner.
Manu Samoa is currently ranked 7th in 15s and in the top five of the IRB Sevens circuit.