Pacific Games

Pacific Games: Father And Son Win Gold In Samoa

Winning gold with Maikeli is special, says Fijian 9s coach
10 Jul 2019 16:12
Pacific Games: Father And Son Win Gold In Samoa
From left: Men’s 9s rugby league coach Vula Dakuitoga with son Maikeli after winning the gold medal at the Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa on July 9, 2019.

It was a special moment for Team Fiji men’s 9s rugby league head coach Vula Dakuitoga and his son Maikeli after being crowned the new Pacific champions when they upset favourites Papua New Guinea 14-0 at Apia Park, Samoa last night.

Rugby league is PNG’s national sport and their side consisted of PNG Hunters players who are playing in the Queensland Cup competition.

Vula told SUNsports that watching his son play from Kaji rugby level till the final was a special moment for him as a father and coach.

“As a father I’m so proud of my son and to have the father and son combination here, it’s just a special feeling for both of us,” the former Vodafone Fijian Bati captain said.

“We return the glory and honour to God, we have touched so many hearts before the tournament and even at game day, it’s just a wonderful experience. I’ve been with Maikeli since he was in the under-12 grade.

Team Fiji men’s rugby league team on the medal podium during the medal presentation at Apia Park, Samoa on July 9, 2019. Photos: Anasilini Natoga

Team Fiji men’s rugby league team on the medal podium during the medal presentation at Apia Park, Samoa on July 9, 2019. Photos: Anasilini Natoga

Maikeli who successfully converted one of Fiji’s one conversion was in tears as he reminisce all the struggles he went through with his team-mates.

“I thank God for all this especially my father for being the pillar of strength despite in all the struggles and challenges we went through. We still held on and fought through all those challenges.”

The two Melanesian brothers had a strong battle with Fiji scoring their first try through Penaia Leveleve with the conversion going wide as they led 4-0 at halftime.

Rookie Fijian Bati halfback Penioni Tagituimua was the star of the side as he controlled play which frustrated the PNG players as they lost their cool and were frequently penalised.

Tagituimua was again at his best when he created the gap for Taniela Tamanivalu to scoot away for their second try with the conversion from Dakuitoga going over. Again he engineered a move that led to Josua Roko scoring their third try. In the bronze medal playoffs, Samoa edged out Tonga 16-12.

-Edited by Leone Cabanatabua

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