Orchids played for Unity: Tsiamalili Jr

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Bougainville Rugby President Peter Tsaimalili Junior

THE president of Autonomous Region of Bougainville Rugby Football Union (ARBRFU) has described their participation in the recent South Pacific Oil (SPO) Solomon 7s competition in Honiara last week as ‘playing for unity’.

Peter Tsiamalili Jr, who led the Bougainville Black Orchids side to a second place finish in the cup play-off said, it has been a wonderful journey for them to come over to Honiara and play against their Melanesian brothers.

“For us it has been a wonderful journey, not just a journey of rugby but a journey that Bougainville Orchids happened to unite every people together in the relationship we’ve had with Solomon Islands through the code of rugby,” he said.

The Black Orchids began their Solomon 7s campaign in a loss against homeside Henderson Hammerheads in the opening day but managed to pull through into the cup final after winning their remaining matches.

Tsiamalili Jr was full of praise for his boys despite the loss in the grandfinal against the Vanuatu Barbarians where they claimed the second prize of $20,000 cash.

“It’s been a bonus for us this weekend where God had allowed us to go all the way to play in the cup final.

“For this opportunity, we give all the glory and praise back to him that he has allowed us to come this far.

“Again, for us to come and finish in second has been a wonderful, wonderful outcome against this particular team Vanuatu Barbarians, that is obviously made up of good Fijian players, experienced Fijian players.

Black Orchids team posing with their second prize in the SPO Solomon 7s

“The difference between us is, we are purely straight out of the village. We’ve been working on our rugby and we really appreciate the benchmark of what they’ve set as we look forward to 2019 when we come back to Honiara to take this opportunity again.

“Definitely, it is our first time to participate in a competition outside of our region after 15 years of developing rugby in Bougainville.

“Actually, this is a first unique journey outside our region for us. We look forward to many more in better future,” Tsiamalili Jr, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the PNG Sports Foundation, said.

The Solomon 7s is the first ever international rugby sevens competition to be organised in the country by Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF).

The Black Orchids captain receiving his team’s second prize from the Speaker to Solomon Islands National Parliament Hon Ajilon Nasiu during the presentation

The Solomon 7s is the first ever international rugby sevens competition to be organised in the country by Solomon Islands Rugby Union Federation (SIRUF).

The Black Orchids’ participation was upon invitation from SIRUF President Frank Wickham.

Tsiamalili expressed his gratitude to SIRUF for the invitation stating that it’s a significant milestone for the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Rugby Football Union.

“All praise and glory goes back to God for allowing these games to be played amongst our brother regions where we are able to express ourselves through the rugby field.

“I would like to thank the rugby community in Honiara for being a wonderful host where the safety of all our players in and off the pitch are well looked after.

Black Orchids listening to speeches during presentation at the Town Ground Rugby Stadium

“Big credit goes to the organisers as well for putting up spectacular job in preparing this successful tournament,” Tsiamalili said.

Asked him what’s next, he asserts that this is the beginning of their long walk ahead.

“It is our aspiration that we will be ready as a rugby union playing nation when the time comes,” Tsiamalili Jr said.

“If Cook Islands, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa can do it so can we. This National Championship in Honiara adds to our resume for our bid to be recognised under World Rugby as an associate member of Oceania rugby union, with the plan to becoming full members.

“A full membership will be our objective into the future, we want to play in the Olympics and if a small nation like Fiji can be Olympic Champions in Sevens then have hope.”

A Black Orchid member is being closely watched by the Vanuatu Barbarians players
A Black Orchids player attempts to evade a tackle from the on coming Vanuatu Barbarians player in the final of the SPO 7s
A Black Orchids player tries to make a run through
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