Tackles were made left and right when a Guam rugby team came out to play a series of friendly matches against the Marianas Rugby Club on a blazing hot but windy Saturday at the Oleai Sports Complex field.
The friendly roundup of watches were MRC Team B vs. Guam, MRC Team A vs. MRC Team B, and MRC Team A vs. Guam. For the women’s matches, since there were no Guam women’s rugby team present, it was the MRC red team vs. MRC blue team. The Guam team pummeled MRC in the first match, 26-7.
With rugby in the CNMI not as big as it is in Guam, according to Neemia Vaiagae from the MRC, these matches exposed the team to competition, with hopes to have more matches like these in the future. Occasionally, said Vaiagae, MRC flies to Guam for rugby matches.
Vaiagae said that about 99% of the rugby players in the team are young and are first-time players but that they are “very interested” in the sport. He said he hopes to expose it to the youth first. “That’s what we’re trying to do—bring rugby here… there are lots of other sports here but there are some kids that are interested in [rugby].”
The men’s MRC team consists of Oscar Setefano, Koji Taisakan, Jason Limes, Dino Taitano, Cain Castro, Jose Itibus, Rj Mendiola, Greg Sablan, Trey Aiken, Matthew Reyes, Frank Baza Jr., Chase Tenorio, Andy Magofna, Javen Montenegro, Jesse Olopai, Daniel Taisakan, Darien Quitugua, Jeffrey Quitugua Jr., Neil Skerei, Alvin Takai, Brandon Benavente, and Semisi Betevua.
The women’s MRC red team includes Tahira Setefano, Yuriko Castro, Maria Castro, Richelle Ramon, Jenny Lee, and Jemalei Mori.
The women’s MRC blue team includes Vivalyn Yangirelit, Davian Atalig, Marley Castro, Jahsmin Ramon, Kailani Laniyo, Tarshia Olopai, Devine Sablan, with one Guam rugby player, Mariana Piper Crisostomo.
The Guam rugby team that came out were Justin Tanguileg, Afari “AJ” Patterson, Jedi Tuli, Seta Suguturaga, Taylor Taitague, Manny Cruz, Niko Castro, Frank Arceo, Brandon Burgos, Brad Fritz, Troy Fritz, Jayven Mendiola, Richard Smalls, Davy Degracia, Keenan Quinata, and Paul Estaquio. These rugby players were from different rugby teams in Guam including South Side and Lattestoners, but the majority of them are from the Guam Rugby Club.
Justin Tanguileg, a 26-year-old Guam rugby player said after the matches that “it’s a lot of competition—the competition is a lot better. I would like to say, hands down, the community’s always welcoming. It’s always a great experience to always come back out here for any sports—for rugby most especially, and for football too. They come to Guam too and we always welcome them with open arms… which is a really good thing and I love how we keep on pushing us further and further into being more competitive. And that’s what we need to do as brother and sister islands– and it feels great to see that COVID is dying down… and we get to see everyone back out again and doing what we love to do. We’re doing what we love to do honestly.”
“Thanks to Saipan and the whole community for making this happen. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be doing what we love,” said Tanguileg.
“A huge shout out to those who came out today to show love to both MRC and Guam rugby! Your presence and support is very much appreciated! Thank you to our Guam rugby family for giving us the experience needed to grow as a team and individually. We hope to see you all soon on the field again,” said the MRC Facebook page after the event.
Lady of the match, most tries, and most tackles went to Kailani Laniyo, Yuriko Kawakami Castro, Jemalei Mori, and Marley Castro, respectively.
MRC invites those interested in trying a new sport, with MRC practices on Tuesday and Thursday from 5pm to 7pm at the Oleai Sports Complex Field.
Contact email@example.com or Oscar Setefano at (670) 287-6752.