The Leulumoega Fou College 1st XV team has been disqualified from the Schools National Rugby Championships.
And the Principal, Fauolo Apevai Mataafa, is furious about what she claims are wrong reports about what has happened.
“What has been broadcasted on one media is not right,” she said. “They broadcasted that our disqualification was because our school used a student who played first for another school.
“This is not correct.”
Fauolo clarified that the player in question has never played for them.
According to Fauolo, on 15 April, 2018, at 5pm, a meeting was called for all College principals and coaches of rugby and netball teams from the four zones that have qualified for the National Championship to discuss and draw rules of the tournament.
“Members of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) were present because they were the organisers,” she said. “Tournament rules were discussed verbally (no written rules) and passed.
“One of which, is that no new student from another school who has played in that school, is allowed to play for the new school he has now enrolled in.
“During the same meeting, member of S.R.U., Ta’ala Tui Komiti, explained that in the team list of the 23 players for each match, it is a must that there are three subs for the front row (for safety reasons), those are to be two props and one hooker.
“I registered my school (three weeks ago) when a student transferred from Tuasivi College (my sister church school from the big island). The student played in the Zone C rugby season in Savaii.”
She said after the Sunday meeting, she informed the student that he could not play.
“On Monday during the match between L.F.C. and S.J.C. (under 19 boys), our team submitted a team list with the name of the ex-Tuasivi student as a sub for the prop position (jersey #17).
“The coaches put his name in just to satisfy the requirement for three front row subs. There was never an intention to let him play. During the match, the first choice 15 players played their hearts out in the wet and dirty mud.
“It was only in the last five minutes of the game that sub number 16 (a prop) went in. L.F.C. won the match 10:7. After the game, S.J.C. protested against number 17 of L.F.C.
“The Jury of Appeal (S.S.S.P.A. exec Pres Matafeo Reupena (Avele principal) Secretary Sefuiva Malaea Lauano (Leifiifi Col principal), Technical Advisor Tuave Titi To’a (Principal Safata College) and S.R.U. member, Taala Tui Komiti, issued their decision in the meeting yesterday (April 17th) that the L.F.C. win is disqualified.
“Reason was because we failed to follow the rules of the tournament. I was present at the meeting, with a humble heart and all due respect I accepted the decision.
“However, I voiced and asked that my comments be recorded in the meeting minutes that ‘I accept with all humility the unjust decision, I am sorry that L.F.C. coaches did a great wrong in writing the new student’s name in the team list’.
“I am so very sad that there is no love in how the tournament is run. You uphold the rules, but have victimised the 16 players.
“You have broken the hearts of students we are developing for the future of the game and their own futures.
“Ou te onosai ma pulea lo’u loto, ua matou malolo ua e tausisia tulafono ae lafoa’i agaga o tagata. O fea le ALOFA?”
Fauolo said she called a meeting.
“I came home called the players and teachers told them the sad news and did what any good leader should do.
“TV1 Local news at 6.30pm (Tues 17/4/18) they broadcasted our disqualification; LFC played a student who played first for another school.
“Oh my goodness, e oti faalua se pagota? How humiliating for us teachers and students of L.F.C., our parents and families and supporters and most embarrassing for the Church (C.C.C.S.)?
“On behalf of teachers and students of Leulumoega Fou, to all our families, ex-students and supporters we are truly sorry, we have erred.”
“E toe oso le La. Tuu ia i le Atua le Faamasino Sili, ae ua ou malolo faatamalii.”
An attempt to contact the committee of the School National Rugby Championships yesterday was unsuccessful.