The contracted players with the sponsors and SRU officials at the announcement last night
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – WEDNESDAY 22 NOVEMBER 2017: The financially strapped Samoa Rugby Union has secured a $1million talā sponsorship to secure 14 players for the Manu Samoa Team for the 2017/18 season.
The sponsorship by the Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA) and Blue Sky Samoa was announced last night with the names of the 22 players.
Each sponsor pledges $1 million talā in money and in-kind support.
“This is a huge financial incentive undertaken by the Union to ensure we keep our best players on island, and help provide support to their families whilst at the same time, free the players to focus clearly on performance,” said Union Chairman Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.
The Union’s main challenge is the ability to gain and maintain sponsors through high level performance and results for rugby and the union to survive.
“Tonight I want to express our sincere gratitude to Blue Sky and SIFA for their belief and vision to partner with SRU and our Manu Samoa 7’s program for the next four years,” said Tuilaepa.
To boost the development of rugby, Tuilaepa said the Board and Management has left no stone unturned to provide the best coaches in the business, widen the training spot and facilitate more tournaments to find and condition the best players to gain Samoa a much needed push for results.
“To highlight the Union’s commitment, with the support of SIFA and Blue Sky and for the first time, we offer 22 fulltime contracted players in the 7’s program,” said Tuilaepa.
“To Sir Gordon and the team, our whole country is behind you and we wish you all the best for the upcoming tournament, as your commitment and passion match the support of our sponsors, stakeholders and government.
Sevens Head Coach Sir Gordon Tietjens acknowledged the Government and country’s support and trust in his team.
“I won’t promise you victory, but promise that we will give it all our best,” said Sir Gordon.
Fifteen of the contracted players are based in Samoa while the other seven play their club rugby in New Zealand.
Of the 22 contracted players, 14 will play in the opening legs of the 2017/2018 tournament in Dubai and Cape Town later this month.
The Manu Samoa Sevens Team
Name Club Village
Alamanda Motuga Manurewa Sataoa/Safata
Alatasi Tupou (C) BBE Vaiala Vaipuna
Brody Lam Eden/Auckland Alafua
Darren Kellet Ponsonby Vaivase
David Afamasaga Auckland Marist Fasitoo-tai /Afega
Faalemiga Selesele Moataa Satupaitea
Fautia Otto Vaimoso/Aana Chiefs Saasaai/Safaatoa
Gordon Landkilde Moataa/Aana Chief Satapuala
Jacob Ale Melville –NZ Malie/Iva
Murphy Penitito Southern Tornadoes Poutasi
Neria Fomai Hastings Rugby & Sports Magiagi /Lepuiai
Patrick Faapale BBE Vaiala Vaipuna
Samoa Toloa Sasaai Mulifanua/Sasaai
Silao Nonu Apia Maroons Lano
David T.Faiala Puatoo/Aana Chiefs Vailuu tai
Tila Mealai Apia Maroons Lalomanu
Totalu Solia Southern Tornadoes Malaemalu
Lafaele Va’a Vailele Vailele
Malu Falaniko BBE Vaiala/Aana Chiefs Lano/Sasaai/Fasitoo-tai
Tom Iosefo Tepatasi Lefagaoalii
Tomasi Alosio Hutt Old Boys Levi Saleimoa/Falefa
Joe Perez Marist Samoa Vaigaga