Rugby marches into Apia.
Rugby made a big impact on Apia today, local and international teams were treated like Olympians as they paraded through Samoa’s capital.
The Oceania under 19s is having a big impact on Samoa, locals are right behind their own national team, as well as welcoming their brothers from PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga.
In a real festival of our game, local club sides and the youth international stars all joined in a march through the city and to Parliament.
Once they arrived the PM and cabinet were on hand to welcome them all.
Samoa’s prime minister said “Rugby is just not a past time for us anymore, it can be a profession and a great way for our youth to stay out of trouble”. He encouraged all the youth present to seize their chance for higher honours with the 2011 RWC not far off the radar.
As the boys walked through town the business houses and streets were welcoming and waving to the players. Apia has opened a door of companionship and their fondness of rugby is ever present.
The players were mingling with countrymen and Island neighbours in a photo-fest and enjoying the occasion. Smiles were everywhere and the experience and sharing is the first taste of international dreams for these guys. They have all run and trained hard to get here and today it was all about them and the people of Apia came out to celebrate them.
To add a little more spice all the Miss Samoa contestants also visited the podium for welcoming speeches. This ensured all the boys were tuned to the speeches and also showed how highly regarded rugby is with the public of Samoa.
All teams now head out for more training and mental preparation for finals rugby. Fiji takes on the unbeaten Samoa, PNG play Vanuatu and rugby is vibrant in Samoa.