MY SAY : Beautiful, bullying, Hail Mary, fund our rugby stadium, pass

About the author:

Mataeliga Pio Sioa, Newsline Samoa newspaper editor. A veteran journalist in broadcast and print media.

  • Poor enough condition to build the Samoa Rugby Union A Stadium of their own
    Poor enough condition to build the Samoa Rugby Union A Stadium of their own

A rugby stadium at the Samoa Rugby Union ‘heartland’ at Tuanaimato is a longstanding piece of infrastructural dream for the national sport.

A stadium of international standard is the missing centerpiece the Samoa Rugby Union needs to build its empire on.

First they have to put on the sad face for a rich rugby donor to fund the stadium.

The International Rugby Board before it evolved into the World Rugby paid for the Tuanaimato High Performance Unit.

That door has been knocked on already and it had opened and closed.

Since then the dream watchers waited and watched for the best opening to sneak in a dream scoring stadium funding pass, on a donor with a gold, rugby loving, heart.

When you have an empire builder like the Chairman of the SRU driving from the front, it comes down to a simple matter of timing

He finally made the Hail Mary pass last week and it was timed as perfectly as it will ever be.

Our Manu Samoa half back for the World Cup would have learned much on the timing, trajectory, speed and weight of the pass, if it was a political paddock he was playing on.

The passing move started when the attention of the rugby world zoomed in at the Apia Park Stadium last week.

Samoa and Tonga were ready to kick off their opening match of the 6-member Pacific Nations Cup.  Torrential rainfall spoiled the spectacle that is normal when these two fiery island powerhouses clash.

The excited expectations turned into a huge disappointment for everyone, even the Manu Samoa despite the win.

 The ground conditions were thoroughly thrashed like a weak front row that caved in under a collapsed scrum.

Rainwater pooled on the ground surface it soaked up the playing field into a mud cake and posed a serious life-threatening situation.

A player buried under a solid pile of bodies in a maul or ruck could easily drown in the soft mud or pool of water.

Only a minute’s drive away from where all this drama and trauma was taking place, a very important figure was sitting inside the office of the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

He also just happened to be the Chairman of the SRU.

His special guest on that dark and foreboding mid Saturday afternoon was the popular Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern.

The kiwi leader was passing through Apia as the gateway to the Tokelau Islands where she was on an official visit.

Instead of sailing straight away on the HMNZS Otago to the atolls, PM Ardern decided to catch up with her local counterpart, for a friendly bilateral chat.

Purely a courtesy call since she was passing through Samoan soil.

Discussions on climate change and working together as a region set up the play well for Tuilaepa

An unsuspecting PM Ardern, probably never saw the perfectly spiraled Hail Mary pass, for NZ to fund a rugby stadium for Samoa.

Climate change has endeared the island countries to world sympathies. We are the innocent victims of industrial pollutions by the wealthy economic global powers.

The US and Australia are making a combined push to drive China out of the island region and are dragging New Zealand along to power up a re-set or step-up economic policies to do that.

This was and still is the backdrop Tuilaepa made his pass from.  The ball is on its way.

The smile on PM Ardern’s face on her return from Tokelau added to her natural beauty but failed to show how she is going to play the pass.

Whatever happens she cannot afford to drop the pass going forward.  Too many heavily loaded expectations are riding on that ball.

 Tuilaepa has done what has become natural in a lifetime career as a politician and that is to play politics.

The rugby stadium is more than just a sporting infrastructure as far as he is concerned.

This is about promoting the national tourism industry as the leading foreign exchange earner for Samoa next only to family remittances.

The Pacific Games and the resounding success for Samoa is difficult to dispute as an example of a major sporting event  the tourism industry wants.

If Samoa can host 5 thousand athletes and officials with ease, why not the World International Rugby 7s Circuit. What about the Pacific Nations Cups?

Maybe it will push the Wallabies or England to finally work up enough courage to face the Manu Samoa at home.

This is the politics that Tuilaepa is playing at.

If only it was not on that lovely lovely woman. She is not even a rugby player.

What a bully.