Samisoni pays tribute to late Eddie Waqa

Samisoni Asi receives his prize from Hon Fane Tupouvavau at the Haalano Grounds. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

By ILIESA TORA

NUKU’ALOFA-October 8: 10.40am (Nuku’alofa Times): The Kingdom 7s tournament’s Player of the Tournament Samisoni Asi of the Toloa Old Boys yesterday paid tribute to the late Eddie Waqa, a former Tonga 7s head coach.

Samisoni, who started his sevens rugby career with Fasi Ma’ufanga, was named player of the tournament after the two days and received $500 pa’anga as his prize.

Samisoni Asi with Hon Fane Tupouvavau Tuivakano and Hon Simon Tuivakano. Photo: NUKU'ALOFA TIMES

Samisoni Asi with Hon Fane Tupouvavau Tuivakano and Hon Simon Tuivakano. Photo: NUKU’ALOFA TIMES

The stocky halfback/playmaker paid tribute to Waqa, who had given him the first chance to play for Tonga in 2012.

“Eddie was the first coach to give me the break for Tonga 7s,” Samisoni said.

“He selected me in 2012 to go and play for Tonga at the Coral Coast 7s tournament in Sigatoka.

“I will never forget that trip because it was my first one and he gave me the big break.”

Samisoni said the late Eddie also spoke to him a few time as he was learning how to develop as a player.

“He told me off one day in Fiji and told me that I needed to start acting like a professional player if I wanted to improve and become a better player,” Samisoni said.

“He told me that I can become a top player if I worked on my disicpline, fitness and my game.

“I salute him for giving me the chance and I am learning every day.”

Samisoni has played for Tonga 7s since then and moved to Toloa Old Boys to better his game.

During the last two days he stood out as a key player and easily won the vote for best player.

He stood out in the semifinal clash against his former Fasi side, playing as the Vikings.

In the final he was shut down but still showed his ability to create opportunities, helping his side score two tries, one of which was his own.

Samisoni said the Kingdom 7s tournament was a great idea, something that he believes would help develop the game here.

“I look forward to having some overseas clubsides come to play at the event here as Eddie wanted,” he said.

“The Kingdom 7s will help local players if that happens.”

The late Eddie Waqa was Tonga 7s head coach from 2012-2014 when he was contracted by the Tonga Rugby Union.

He had set up plans for the TRU to organise and run monthy 7s rugby tournaments here in Tonga on Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai and ‘Eua so that he could scout for and identify local players.

His first tournament plan was a Kingdom 7s tournament, which was initially discussed in 2013 but shelved because of lack of interest.

The idea has since been taken up by the Kingdom 7s committee here.

 






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