Manu Sina Captain Masuisui Pauaraisa wants equality in rugby.
In an interview with Newsline Samoa, Pauaraisa said everyone needs to come and support the women.
“That’s what we’re fighting for. I live in New Zealand but now I come to Samoa quite often because of rugby because my heart is here. We really need to push,” she said.
“We are fighting for equality in the game like with resources. We need everyone to come and support the women. As you see today, I think the women really showed up so it’s really cool.”
Pauaraisa is a mother of two girls ages 10 and 11; Captain of Manu Sina and Coach-Captain of Christchurch, 2019 Champions of the Marist International Sevens.
She says women’s rugby is “growing” but resources and training are needed for local athletes.
“The game is growing and I think it’s just getting the resources and training them as well because I know a lot of local girls, they love playing but they don’t like training and with what they eat as well, nutrition, so I think education-wide with sports they really need to get some support on that side,” Pauaraisa said.
“The women’s game is really growing so I am pleased to be here and be a part of the Marist Sevens. We played three games in our pool on Friday and we were at the top so we got the chance, we had an advantage. We played five games altogether and they were pretty tough with the heat as well.”
The Marist competition was “tough,” and the so was the final against Apia Maroons, she said.
“It was tough. We knew it was going to be tough going against Apia Maroons because we were in the same pool Friday so it was a tough game against them. It was 15-7. It was a really close game apart from all other games,” said Pauaraisa.
“But as for the final, we are from Christchurch and our weather is like that so we’re kind of like used to it.”
Cassia Siataga Team Captain for Christchurch said women’s rugby in New Zealand has reached its peak. The success of women’s rugby is due to strong support, said Siataga.
“Me, being from New Zealand, I mean we are already at our peak but once our women did start getting a lot more support, we took it to the next level and that’s why our women are so good,” she told Newsline.
“All we are asking for really is the same support that the boys get for the women in Samoa. There is so much talent here. If some of these girls came over and played in Christchurch, in New Zealand, they’d do so well. I think they’re not getting enough support from – I don’t know where it’s from here – if it’s the government or whatever but these girls are so good and they showed it when they went to the Pacific Games not too long ago and they placed better than they ever have and they were all local girls in that sevens team. There is so much talent here that we can tap into if we have a bit more support.”
Apia Maroons Captain Oneata Moea’i appealed to the Government of Samoa for more support. Apia finished the Marist Sevens in second place after they were defeated 19-0 by Christchurch.
“My request to our government is that we need their trust and their support. The women need your support. The Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) does have some nice programs. For instance, they have tournaments that bring girls in to play. My wish is that please: we need more support,” said Moea’i.
“It is true, we were fashioned from the rib of a man but women today, we are different. There are some Samoan women who can beat up their men. To our men, please show us support, most especially when you are putting together a team to take abroad.”
The young women from Savai’i, said Moea’i, are fine examples of Samoa’s hidden rugby talent.
“Look at our girls from Savai’i who were here. They are so young, maybe 16 or 17, and now I know there is so much hidden talent in our young Samoan women,” she said.
“Our government does not care much about women’s rugby maybe because they think this is a man’s sport. Maybe this is why we are at this point right now. We have a Samoan saying: ‘E au le inailau a tamaitai.’ We are experienced in this game and we can excel in this sport like our men.”
Siataga said they once trained with the Maroons.
“But we would love it if we are able to come over here maybe a bit earlier and just help tune up their skills and just be there for them because we, without the help of our coaches, we wouldn’t be as good as we are now. They just need a hand,” said Siataga.
“Hopefully, we can come next year because we are planning to bring over two teams next year. Hopefully, we can come over earlier and get all the girls together. It was so cool to see the Savai’i team. It was so cool. Hopefully we can run some clinics for the girls next time, to help them out.”
Manu Sina Captain Pauaraisa said the primary purpose of their 2018 visit to Samoa was to inspire Samoan women.
“The main thing, the reason we came before, the purpose was to inspire Tama’ita’i Samoa. The main thing is that they see how we work,” Pauaraisa told Newsline.
“We always stay as a team; in warm-ups, there are certain things we do...there are a lot of things you can do that make the game enjoyable. We just pray that God will lead us and show us where to go.”