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Local team of high school players accept invite to play in Marist 7s Under 19 Tourney


Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A select team of High School players from American Samoa will take part in the Marist Sevens under 19 Tournament in Samoa, this week.

The Team of 14 players representing many of the High Schools in the Territory will arrive today, June 5, 2023, in Apia.

Mata’u Valusia Talataina, the Athletic Coordinator of local ASHSAA Sports told Samoa News it’s the first time a team from the US territory will be attending this tournament.

Also, “this is the first time American Samoa High School Athletic Association- ASHSAA has added English Rugby and therefore Rugby sevens was a one day tournament, following ASHSAA’s approval,” he said.

The rugby teams are have player-students — both male and female — from the high schools of Fagaitua, Samoana, Nuuuli Voc Tech, Tafuna, Faasao-Marist, and Leone. And, “since American Samoa now has rugby teams,” Mata’u said they’ve received an invitation from Samoa to play in the Marist 7s Tournament in Upolu this week.” 

However, this time, the invitation was for the male teams only.

Mata’u made it clear to the management of Marist 7s in Samoa that American Samoa High School players at the age of 19 aren’t allowed to play.

“The Marist Sevens players are for those under 19 and not 19 years old or older,” he clarified.

“We’re going under the Department of Education, representing all the high schools and American Samoa.

“The team will be in Samoa for the whole of this week with the tournament completing on Saturday, then returning home on the same day.

“The selected team is guaranteed to play three games, if successful then they’d compete for the plate, Cup or the main trophy.

“Rugby is now a new game ASHSAA has added for the first time following a successful local tournament recently, where Leone won in both male and female games.”

Mata’u said Rugby is now listed as one of  the annual sports incorporated into the DOE curriculum for high schools.

He said there are also opportunities for Rugby Scholarships, as it’s now open for the first time, after receiving an invitation from Marist in Samoa.

He acknowledged DOE and ASHSAA for giving them the support.

Head Coach Tony Esau is leading the team of 14 Under 19 student-athletes, from the local high schools. 

Team management thanks the Department of Education for “paying for everything, including leaders of the Secondary and Elementary, deputies and all schools.”

Mata’u left the territory on Saturday for Samoa while the team leaves today.