New rugby pathway open to women in Samoa

Oceania Rugby recently staged a Women in Rugby month. In Samoa that meant recognition for all those who contribute to the game in a number of areas.

At the end of a month-long celebration of women’s involvement in rugby in Samoa, the individuals who have helped to push back gender barriers through their involvement in the sport had their contributions officially recognised at a certification ceremony.

The Samoan Rugby Union has made a concerted effort to encourage participation in rugby, not only in a playing sense but also with supporting roles such as coaching, match officials, first aid attendants, physios and in strength and conditioning.

All those in attendance in Sogi, on the outskirts of the capital city of Apia, were certified in one of those crucial fields and got to meet the guest of honour, Nynette Sass, Samoa’s Chef de Mission at last year’s Pacific Games.

“The certification ceremony was about rewarding the certified people who are actively working in the community as well as creating an awareness among female players about this pathway, and that rugby can provide for them in other ways than playing,” said Samoa Rugby Union’s women’s development officer, Avii Faalupega.

Role model

Former Manusina sevens and 15s player, Seifono Misili, was one of those to receive her award on a night when women’s rugby in Samoa took another positive step forward.

Misili has successfully transitioned into coaching and it is hoped more will follow suit in taking on alternative roles.

“I want to motivate other girls to believe in themselves that they can make it to the Manusina and say to them, ‘If I can do it, you can do it’,” Misili said.

“I would challenge and encourage them to join and be part of women’s rugby to foster their skills to make their dreams come true.

“It is a great opportunity to be part of the game and stay active in rugby. I would encourage the girls that there is a pathway into coaching, First Aid in Rugby (FAIR) and match officiating if they couldn’t make the Manusina team.”

Changing attitudes

Recently World Rugby heard from Women’s Executive Leadership scholarship recipient, Beth Onesemo about how traditional attitudes around women’s rugby were becoming less prevalent in her homeland.

And Faalupega is equally encouraged that times are changing for the better in Samoa.

“From my perspective as a women’s development officer, there have been a lot of changes,” she said.

“Traditionally with rugby in Samoa, the attitude, especially with parents, is still that daughters should stay at home, do the housework, look after the elderly and nurture the kids.

“But by giving opportunities to all these women to participate in rugby in the community, it has changed the mindset of people.

“Having women involved in rugby should be seen as normal, like for the boys.”

Read more: Heather-Latu makes history as the first woman chair of the Oceania Rugby judiciary committee >>

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020, 9:35:36 AM
Josephine Sukkar with Buildcorp Super W and Wallaroos players
wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news wr-women-news-power wr-news-oceania
Josephine Sukkar hopes to use historic appointment to help keep Australia mentally and physically healthy
We talk to the first female chair of the Australian Sports Commission about her hopes for the role, and her work in rugby.
Springbok Women
wr-news Women's wr-women-news RWC2021 Rugby World Cup wr-women-news-2021 wr-news-oceania wr-news-olympics-w
Springbok Women ready to step out of the shadows at Rugby World Cup 2021
South Africa’s new women’s rugby high performance manager Lynne Cantwell hopes Rugby World Cup 2021 will help inspire a new generation of players.
Kelly Brazier playing Hong Kong at RWC 2017
Women's Development Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-women-news-2021 wr-news wr-women-news Tournament News RWC2021 Rugby World Cup
Kelly Brazier “pumped” ahead of potential Olympic-Rugby World Cup double
We caught up with the two-time Rugby World Cup winner, who is hoping to play at both Tokyo 2020 and New Zealand 2021.
Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2019 - Women's
sevens-news wr-women-news-sevens Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-news-sevens wr-news-olympics-w Olympics wr-news wr-women-news
USA sevens star Naya Tapper: We want to bring back Olympic gold
As rugby sevens returns from a year-long lay-off in Madrid this weekend, USA star Naya Tapper says she is “super-excited” to be finally back doing what she does best – tearing up the rugby field.
Women's International: Spain v Scotland
wr-news Women's wr-women-news sevens Feature RWC2021 Rugby World Cup wr-women-news-2021
Women’s Rugby Europe Championship: Spain ready to start their road to Rugby World Cup 2021
Las Leonas have a key game against Russia this weekend in Guadalajara in the Women’s Rugby Europe Championship, aiming to continue chasing their dream of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2021.
Liza Burgess Ronan O'Gara Hall of Fame induction
wr-women-news-coach wr-news Women's Development Women's wr-women-news Tournament News Podcasts
Rugby’s Greatest Podcast: Who are the best Six Nations leaders?
The first episode of the new World Rugby podcast welcomes Ronan O’Gara, Ian McGeechan, Liza Burgess, Conor O’Shea and Andy Gomarsall to talk about leadership.
Bella Milo playing for Valley
Women's Development Women's wr-women-news-2021 wr-women-news-coach wr-news wr-women-news Feature Tournament News RWC2021 Rugby World Cup
Bella Milo: Rugby World Cup 2021 could have huge impact on women’s rugby in Hong Kong and Pacific Islands
The Samoa fly-half talks to World Rugby about New Zealand 2021, coaching and how she hopes to “give back” to the game.
Spain women's sevens
sevens-news Women's sevens-news-women sevens wr-news-sevens Olympics wr-news wr-women-news sevens-news-men
Madrid Sevens: All you need to know about the Tokyo Olympics warm-up tournament
Your guide to the return of rugby sevens, including who is playing, what format it will take and its importance to the participating teams.
Alhambra Nievas - Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens 2017 - Women's
Olympics wr-women-news-sevens wr-news Women's wr-women-news wr-news-matchofficials wr-women-news-2021 wr-news-olympics-w
Pioneering Olympic female referee Alhambra Nievas excited by the next generation
As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games draw ever closer, we talk to Alhambra Nievas about her experience of refereeing the women’s gold medal match in Rio and look at how far female officials have come since that momentous occasion.
Paule Ella Guei
wr-news Women's Unstoppables wr-women-news Feature
'Unstoppable' Paule Ella Guei awarded for promoting women's rugby in Ivory Coast
One of the faces of Rugby Africa's 'Try And Stop Us' campaign, the player-turned-referee has received the Sports + Award in recognition of her work developing women's rugby in the Ivory Coast.