Amerika Samoa Rugby Union
Selecting a name for Team American Samoa was no easy task. ASRU has adopted the name "TALAVALU" for its national sides. Talavalu is the name of a Samoan war weapon of the past. Its replica now appears on our logo left of the flag eagle. This weapon, used to be carved out of ironwood, was named simply for the number of half-diamond shaped teeth on one edge of the weapon - eight of them. (Tala=teeth; valu=eight). Our colors emulate our American Samoa flag color scheme. Our logo depicts the general theme of our flag including its colors, format (red "V" on white field protected by an ocean of navy blue) with the American bald eagle carrying the "fue" (Samoan talking chief's whisk) and "Uatogi" (another Samoan war weapon) flanked by the "Talavalu" on the left and the "Ulafala" shaped in a rugby ball form surrounding the Talavalu "T". The "T" depicts a rugby player bracing for the winning goal kick. The ulafala is made of Paogo (pandanus), the national flower of American Samoa.
Rugby is not a new game to American Samoa. Prior to the introduction of American football to our high school age children, rugby was the only football Samoans knew how to play. While there were no organized unions at the time in the Samoas, village competition was intense, and often risky. When American football was introduced in the 1970s, rugby took a back seat to the game. All our youngsters loved the looks of the tights and helmets (very tough looking) and the young potential rugby players were drawn to the new game. It has been a struggle for rugby enthusiasts to remain relevant as a sport, but a few committed individuals to the game kept the faith and moved forward to organize the American Samoa Rugby Union. Te'o J. Fuavai, Meko L. Aiumu, Herman J. (Popeye) Thomsen, Aitofele (HC Faoa) Sunia, are the originators and incorporators of ASRU. The ASRU was granted its charter under American Samoa laws on September 19, 1990, and was formally registered on September 25, 1990 as a non-profit corporation. We are launching this online presence in celebration of our 22nd anniversary, and moving forward.
E le'i faigofie le talafaasolopito o le Iuni Lakapi Amerika Samoa. O le taaloga ua leva ona taaloina i Samoa i Sasa'e (Amerika Samoa) faatasi ma Samoa i Sisifo. Mai lava i le taunuu o lotu ma faata'ita'i mai le taaloga e misionare na to'ai i Samoa, e oo mai lava i lenei aso, e le'i toe te'a ese lava ma Samoa. Sa tautalia le atina'e o le lakapi i Amerika Samoa ona o le to'ai mai o le futupolo Amerika, ma tosina vave iai alo ma fanau i a'oga maualuluga. Ae le'i motu ai le lakapi. O le afioga a Te'o J. Fuavai, Meko L. Aiumu, Herman J. (Popeye) Thomsen ma Aitofele (HC Faoa) Sunia sa latou faamauina le Iuni i le Malo o Amerika Samoa. O le aso 25 of Setema, 1990 na resitara aloa'ia ai le ta'iala (charter) o le Iuni, e oo mai lava i lenei faamanatuga o le eniveseri (anniversary) 22 o le Iuni, i a Setema 25, 2012.
In 2004, the ASRU became a full member of the Federation Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU), a sub-regional of the International Rugby Board (IRB). As such, ASRU became an Associate Member of the IRB on April 5, 2005. But even with such association, rugby remained nothing more than a weekend passtime in American Samoa. In the mean time, rugby has taken off on the international stage in neighboring Independent Samoa. In 2010, ASRU was re-organized, revitalized and re-energized. A new board was elected; a new constitution was adopted; new by-laws were approved, and a new direction was charted. Discipline was quickly identified as our biggest challenge. Tough and strict decisions were made, and the board was committed to holding the line. We had our first general meeting in June 2010 and by 2011, the new board unanimously approved a resolution to apply to the IRB for full membership. The IRB held its general meeting in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup. The Chairman, on behalf of ASRU presented the application for full membership in the IRB in that general meeting. The application was tabled without a decision and held over until the Council meeting in Dublin, Ireland in May of 2012. In the Dublin meeting of the Executive Board it was recommended that the admission of American Samoa as a full member be granted. The IRB Executive Council approved the recommendation and American Samoa was granted full membership in IRB. We thank God for His guiding hand, and Harry Schuster for his help articulating our cause before the Executive Council, and his persistence to keep us moving forward. Faafetai Harry!
Our only international presence as a union national side up to 2010 was in the South Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea. Since the reorganization in 2010, we have only fielded four National Teams. Our first was the U19 fifteens in 2010; second was the Pacific Games Rugby 7s in New Caledonia; third was the Oceania Rugby 7s Championships in Samoa in 2011, and the Oceania Rugby 7s Championship in Sydney, Australia in 2012. The team that went to Australia was also sent to play in the 7s rugby in Hawaii for the Samoan Heritage, and came out victorious being undefeated in Hawaii in August 2012. American Samoa placed fourth in the U19 Oceania Championships held in Apia, Samoa. Then in October 2013, our very own Talavalu placed 5th in the Oceania 7s Championship in Fiji, beating out Papua New Guinea for the final spot for the HSBC/Cathay Pacific Sevens Tournament in Hong Kong, which was also the qualifying round for the HSBC World Series the following year. Talavalu will be making history with its first ever appearance in the Hong Kong Sevens in March of 2014.
TALAVALU ON FAST TRACKta<
For the first time, American Samoa's national rugby team, Talavalu, will take part in the IRB qualifier tournament in Hong Kong. Yesterday, March 21, 2014, the twelve-man team along with three officials, departed for the tournament with great love and support from families, friends, and fans. The Talavalu will play in a 12-team invitational competition that includes Japan, Uruguay, Cook Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Hong Kong, Tunisia, Italy, Russia, Chile, Zimbabwe, and Barbados. The three-day tournament will start on Friday, March 28th (which is Thursday the 27th local time). American Samoa is pooled with Italy, Tunisia and Hong Kong with the first game beginning at 8:06pm (local) against Italy and the second game at 9:56pm (local) against Hong Kong. Play continues on Friday with American Samoa taking on Tunisia at 2:22pm to complete its pool’s round robin play. Depending on its win-loss record from previous days, Talavalu will enter the knockout rounds on the third day of the Hong Kong tournament to determine its progress for the rest of the final day. The team will return to American Samoa immediately following the completion of the Hong Kong IRB circuit. (Story by Falaniko Vitolio, Samoa News)