Jessica Sami creates history: Leading Women’s Rugby 7s to historic ranking at Sol2023
By Ronald F. Toito’ona
Jessica Vanessa Sami has made history as the captain of the Solomon Islands Women’s Rugby 7s team, leading them to a historic 5th place finish at the Pacific Games 2023 Rugby Sevens competition.
The win came in the 5th and 6th playoffs against American Samoa, where the Solomon Islands team secured a convincing 19-5 victory at the National Stadium in Honiara, on Saturday 25th November, 2023.
This achievement marks the best position ever reached by a women’s rugby team in the history of Rugby Sevens.
In an exclusive post-match interview with SIBC, Sami said she is happy with her team’s 5th place finish, at the 17th Pacific Games 2023.
“I’m very happy with the girls finishing fifth. We basically created history at home. So, I’m just really proud of the girls and everything that we put in through – the struggles, bus fares, and everything.
“It’s really nice to finish where we finished,” the 28-year-old said.
She said the fifth-place finish is a remarkable turnaround considering that the team had only finished 7th in the Oceania Rugby Sevens 2022, and a 9th place finish at the recent Championship in Brisbane, Australia.
That said, she wanted to thank their Coach, Chris Nay for the training programs they had undertaken with the Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF) through Rugby Australia and also the Solomon Islands National Institute of Sports (SINIS).
Mr Nay was engaged to assist in the Solomon Islands Rugby 7s preparation for the Oceania Sevens, which serves as an Olympic qualifier for Paris, as well as the Pacific Games 2023 in Honiara.
The Women’s Rugby 7s Captain said, the recent engagement of Mr Nay has proved to be worth it, at the end. She said as part of their preparations for the two main events, “they met an amazing man, Chris, from Australia.
“Chris was sent to coach us, basically made our program for us. Going to the Oceania Rugby 7s this year has really exposed us to more Rugby, as we don’t really get that (opportunity) here.
“Coming back home, the girls played with confidence and I’m really happy with my team,” said Sami, who is from Langalanga and Australia and a member of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Sami also expressed her gratitude to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), friends and families for supporting her since joining the Solomon Islands Women’s Rugby.
“I just want to give a shout out to everyone in the Australian Defence Force, who’s had my back and the army. To Brad Foster, thank you for everything that you’ve done for me, to come help me chase my dreams here.
“To my amazing family back at home (Australia), mum and dad for letting me stay here four months, and those that have helped me financially to come and do this for our country.”
She also made a special appreciation to her mum’s family in Langalanga, Malaita Province.
“Thanks to mum’s family, some of them also came out here to Honiara, to support and cheer for me. And for those that let me stay at their house, when I had nowhere to stay, you guys know who you are, thank you,” an emotional Sami said. –ENDS//