Rugby union in Samoa
Rugby union in Samoa is the country's most popular sport. The national teams in both the standard 15-man game and rugby sevens are competitive against teams from vastly more populous nations. Rugby union is governed by the Samoa Rugby Union who are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance. Samoa were awarded'second tier' status by the International Rugby Board which entitles them to funding from the IRB; the Samoa Rugby Union was founded in 1924, as the "Apia Rugby Union", affiliated to the NZRFU in the same year. As the Western Samoa Rugby Football Union, it joined the IRB in 1988; when Western Samoa amended its constitution to change the country's name from Western Samoa to Samoa, the union changed its name, dropped the word football to become the Samoa Rugby Union. The union is a member of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions; the Marist Brothers brought the game to Samoa in 1920 and The Apia Rugby Union was formed in 1924. On August 18, 1924 Western Samoa played its first international against Fiji in the capital Apia, the visitors winning 6-0.
The Pacific Tri-Nations series between Tonga and Western Samoa was established in 1982. The Western Samoa Rugby Football Union joined the International Rugby Board in 1988. Western Samoa played in the World Cup for the first time in 1991; the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance was set up in 2002 as a basis of co-operation between the Fiji Rugby Union, Samoa Rugby Union and Tonga Rugby Football Union. In 2006, the Pacific Tri-Nations was replaced by the IRB Pacific 5 Nations, renamed the Pacific Nations Cup; the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup started in 2006 with Savaii Samoa representing Samoa. Rugby was first introduced into Samoa around the turn of the 20th century, when it was still a German colony, it is believed that the first people to introduce it there were missionaries from New Zealand. For many years, Western Samoa's international contact was confined to the other South Sea islands of Fiji and Tonga; this is because of the isolation of the islands. Their first international was against Fiji, in 1924, featured a palm tree in the middle of the pitch.
There was a large amount of contact with New Zealand, where many Samoans would migrate to in the 20th century. Samoa first came to major international attention in 1986, their test against the Welsh national side produced a result of 32-14. This was seen as a major turning point as there had been a debate as to whether to have an international team at all, as many players had traditionally defected to New Zealand. Samoa rugby's relationship with New Zealand rugby has been a mixed blessing. On the one hand it has allowed Samoa to recruit amongst the massive pool of first and second generation Samoan migrants in New Zealand, but conversely it meant that for many Samoans, their highest ambition was to win a cap in the All Blacks. Notable Samoan-New Zealander players include Peter Schuster. Controversially Samoa was not invited to the first World Cup - although Fiji were; this led to a massive campaign to build up a side good enough to qualify for the 1991 Rugby World Cup. They selected Bryan Williams, a winger for the All Blacks to be their coach, using a mixture of home grown backs such as Brian Lima and Mathew Vaea, no nonsense New Zealand based forwards such as Mark Birtwistle, Pat Lam Mat Keenan, Peter Fatialofa, he wielded a disparate group of talented individuals into a side which came to dominate Fiji and Tonga and gain access to the world cup.
Samoa's performance at the 1991 Rugby World Cup was superb, proved that they were an international force to be reckoned with. After beating Wales in the first game in Cardiff, they beat Argentina. In a nail bitingly close finish, they were beaten 9-3 by Australia, who would win the tournament. However, they were beaten 28-6 by Scotland. Rugby union is the most popular sport in Samoa, with 12 provincial unions made up of around 120 clubs and nearly 5,000 senior and twice as many junior players in a country with a population of just under 175,000 people. Prominent Samoan players include Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu Alesana Tuilagi Freddie Tuilagi, Apollo Perelini, Lome Fa'atau, Lolani Koko, Pat Lam, Brian Lima, current sevens captain Lolo Lui, two winners of the IRB International Sevens Player of the Year Award in Uale Mai and Mikaele Pesamino; the huge numbers of players playing professionally abroad can work to Samoa's disadvantage when it comes to team training as it is difficult to get them all together as a squad.
But Samoa are regarded as tough opponents. This is the second highest level of domestic competition within Samoan rugby union and is a stepping stone for local players into international rugby. Teams play within their respective unions, the top teams from each union contest the finals series held at Apia Park; the Apia West and Apia union teams dominate. The IRB Pacific Rugby Cup started in 2006 and involves representative teams from the three Pacific rugby unions, Fiji and Samoa. Samoa, along with Fiji, have two sides in the tournament, Savaii Samoa and Upolu Samoa; the aim of the tournament is to improve the quality of rugby in the Pacific Islands. The national team known as Manu Samoa have competed at every Rugby World Cup since 1991, have made the quarter finals in 1991, 1995 and 1999. Samoa play in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Pacific Tri-Nations; the sport is governed by the Samoa Rugby Union, who are members of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, thus contribute to the international Pacific Islanders rugby union team.
The Pacific Tri-Nations is the series between Tonga and Samoa. It has been played
Samoa the Independent State of Samoa and, until 4 July 1997, known as Western Samoa, is a country consisting of two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, four smaller islands. The capital city is Apia; the Lapita people settled the Samoan Islands around 3,500 years ago. They developed Samoan cultural identity. Samoa is a unitary parliamentary democracy with eleven administrative divisions; the country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Western Samoa was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976; the entire island group, which includes American Samoa, was called "Navigator Islands" by European explorers before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills. New Zealand scientists have dated remains in Samoa to about 2900 years ago; these were found at a Lapita site at Mulifanua and the findings were published in 1974. The origins of the Samoans are studied in modern research about Polynesia in various scientific disciplines such as genetics and anthropology. Scientific research is ongoing.
Intimate sociocultural and genetic ties were maintained between Samoa and Tonga, the archaeological record supports oral tradition and native genealogies that indicate inter-island voyaging and intermarriage between pre-colonial Samoans and Tongans. Notable figures in Samoan history included Queen Salamasina. Nafanua was a famous woman warrior, deified in ancient Samoan religion. Contact with Europeans began in the early 18th century. Jacob Roggeveen, a Dutchman, was the first known European to sight the Samoan islands in 1722; this visit was followed by French explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, who named them the Navigator Islands in 1768. Contact was limited before the 1830s, when English missionaries and traders began arriving. Visits by American trading and whaling vessels were important in the early economic development of Samoa; the Salem brig Roscoe, in October 1821, was the first American trading vessel known to have called, the Maro of Nantucket, in 1824, was the first recorded United States whaler at Samoa.
The whalers came for fresh drinking water and provisions, they recruited local men to serve as crewmen on their ships. Christian missionary work in Samoa began in 1830 when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived in Sapapali'i from the Cook Islands and Tahiti. According to Barbara A. West, "The Samoans were known to engage in ‘headhunting', a ritual of war in which a warrior took the head of his slain opponent to give to his leader, thus proving his bravery." However, Robert Louis Stevenson, who lived in Samoa from 1889 until his death in 1894, wrote in A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa, "… the Samoans are gentle people." The Germans, in particular, began to show great commercial interest in the Samoan Islands on the island of Upolu, where German firms monopolised copra and cocoa bean processing. The United States laid its own claim, based on commercial shipping interests in Pearl River in Hawaii and Pago Pago Bay in Eastern Samoa, forced alliances, most conspicuously on the islands of Tutuila and Manu'a which became American Samoa.
Britain sent troops to protect British business enterprise, harbour rights, consulate office. This was followed by an eight-year civil war, during which each of the three powers supplied arms, training and in some cases combat troops to the warring Samoan parties; the Samoan crisis came to a critical juncture in March 1889 when all three colonial contenders sent warships into Apia harbour, a larger-scale war seemed imminent. A massive storm on 15 March 1889 destroyed the warships, ending the military conflict; the Second Samoan Civil War reached a head in 1898 when Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States were locked in dispute over who should control the Samoa Islands. The Siege of Apia occurred in March 1899. Samoan forces loyal to Prince Tanu were besieged by a larger force of Samoan rebels loyal to Mata'afa Iosefo. Supporting Prince Tanu were landing parties from four American warships. After several days of fighting, the Samoan rebels were defeated. American and British warships shelled Apia on 15 March 1899, including the USS Philadelphia.
Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States resolved to end the hostilities and divided the island chain at the Tripartite Convention of 1899, signed at Washington on 2 December 1899 with ratifications exchanged on 16 February 1900. The eastern island-group was known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became German Samoa. The United Kingdom had vacated all claims in Samoa and in return received termination of German rights in Tonga, all of the Solomon Islands south of Bougainville, territorial alignments in West Africa; the German Empire governed the western Samoan islands from 1900 to 1914. Wilhelm Solf was appointed the colony's first governor. In 1908, when the non-violent Mau a Pule resistance movement arose, Solf did not hesitate to banish the Mau leader Lauaki Namulau'ulu Mamoe to Saipan in the German Northern Mariana Islands; the German colonial administration governed on the principle that "there was only one government in the islands." Thus, there was no Samoan Tupu
Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi
Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi is a Samoan politician, Prime Minister of Samoa since 1998. Born at Lepa, Malielegaoi is an economist by profession, he attended high school at St Joseph's College at St Paul's College, Auckland. He worked for the European Economic Community and Coopers & Lybrand before being elected to the Samoan parliament in 1980. Tuilaepa was the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance under Tofilau Eti Alesana following the Human Rights Protection Party's return to power after the coalition government of Va'ai Kolone and Tupua. For a while he was both Prime Minister and Minister of Finance after Tofialu stepped down from the Premiership. However, following a Cabinet reshuffle after the following elections in which he led the HRPP for an additional term, Tuilaepa relinquished the post of Minister of Finance to Misa Telefoni Retzlaff who became the new Deputy Prime Minister; the reason given for Tuilaepa's relinquishment of the Ministry of Finance was the amount of responsibility and work involved being both Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and to do the job properly required a full-time Minister.
Tuilaepa has twice reassigned the Finance portfolio since that time. Tuilaepa first won election to represent his Lepa district in 1980, after the death of the previous representative, he has been re-elected for Lepa since that time. He served as finance minister in the Tofilau government of 1991 and 1996. In 1996, he was appointed deputy prime minister. In 1998, Tofilau retired from parliament due to ill-health. Tuilaepa became the 6th Prime Minister of Samoa, he has led his HRPP party to re-election in the 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016 general elections. Malielegaoi lost two relatives in the 2009 Samoa earthquake and tsunami, including the daughter of one of his nieces. Most of Malielegaoi's hometown of Lepa, was destroyed in the tsunami, leaving just the church and the village's welcome sign standing. In late 2011, Tuilaepa initiated a meeting of Polynesian leaders which led, in November, to the formal launching of the Polynesian Leaders Group, a regional grouping intended to co-operate on a variety of issues including culture and language, responses to climate change, trade and investment.
The Group was in part a response to the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Tuilaepa's government has passed controversial legislation to switch Samoan road use from right to left-hand traffic; the controversy resulted in a peaceful demonstration which drew more than 15,000 people, the largest protest demonstration in Samoan history, to the founding of the People's Party, a political party established to protest against changing sides. In 2011, Tuilaepa's government introduced a bill to shift Samoa west of the International Date Line, to facilitate economic relations with Australia, New Zealand and Asia. According to Samoa Observer editor Keni Lesa, many Samoans viewed the bill as "another crazy idea from our crazy prime minister". Opposition politicians criticised it, arguing that it would not increase exports, that it would in fact deprive Samoa of "its unique tourism selling point as the last place on earth to see the sun", just east of the Date Line. Tuilaepa responded by calling opposition MP Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi "very stupid", adding that "only an idiot" would fail to see the merits of the bill.
However, the bill had the support of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce and the vast majority of the private and finance sector. The major benefit being that, given that most trade was conducted with New Zealand and Australia, a growing trade sector with South East and East Asia, that being on the same day as these major trading partners would lead to improvements in productivity, as more trade could be facilitated during a shared five-day week, as opposed to the previous situation of only sharing three-week days to conduct business. Tuilaepa has emerged as one of Oceania's most vocal critics of Fijian interim leader Commodore Frank Bainimarama, who came to power in the 2006 Fijian coup d'état. Tuilaepa has stated that Bainimarama has shown little respect for the opinions of regional Pacific leaders. Tuilaepa has said that Bainimarama's actions since the 2006 coup have shown that Bainimarama has no intentions of returning Fiji to democratic rule or holding transparent, free elections. Tuilaepa cites numerous actions by Bainimarama to back up his criticisms, including rescinding assurances to leaders at a regional meeting in Tonga that elections would be held in May 2008.
He has criticised Bainimarama as a "no-show" at regional meetings of the Pacific Islands Forum in Niue and Papua New Guinea. Tuileapa has said that Bainimarama's failure to compromise, hold democratic elections and meet with regional leaders is not the "Pacific way."In a February 2009 continuation of the war of words between Bainimarama and Tuilaepa, Bainimarama accused Samoa's foreign policy of being dictated by New Zealand. He accused Tuilaepa of being "un-Pacific". Tuilaepa fired back, questioning whether Bainimarama was sober when he made these claims and reiterating that Bainimarama shows little respect for Pacific leaders. Tuilaepa was founder of Apia West Rugby, is chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union. Tuilaepa competed for his country at the 2007 South Pacific Games in the sport of target archery. In participating in the Games, the Prime Minister became the first elected leader to represent his country at a multi-sport event. Having taken up the sport only five months prior to the Games, Tuila
Rugby union known in most of the world as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end. Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. In 2014, there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby called the International Rugby Football Board and the International Rugby Board, has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members. In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils. An amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game professional at the highest level for the first time.
Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland and was absorbed by many of the countries associated with the British Empire. Early exponents of the sport included New Zealand, South Africa and France. Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Madagascar, New Zealand and Tonga. International matches have taken place since 1871 when the first game took place between Scotland and England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh; the Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place every four years. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are other major international competitions, held annually. National club or provincial competitions include the Premiership in England, the Top 14 in France, the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand, the National Rugby Championship in Australia, the Currie Cup in South Africa. Other transnational club competitions include the Pro14 in Europe and South Africa, the European Rugby Champions Cup in Europe, Super Rugby, in the Southern Hemisphere and Japan.
The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in 1823, when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up the ball and run with it. Although the evidence for the story is doubtful, it was immortalised at the school with a plaque unveiled in 1895. Despite the doubtful evidence, the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby football stems from the form of game played at Rugby School, which former pupils introduced to their university. Old Rugbeian Albert Pell, a student at Cambridge, is credited with having formed the first "football" team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities. A significant event in the early development of rugby football was the production of the first written laws of the game at Rugby School in 1845, followed by the Cambridge Rules drawn up in 1848. Other important events include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871.
The code was known as "rugby football". Despite the sport's full name of rugby union, it is known as rugby throughout most of the world; the first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England in Edinburgh. Scotland won the game 1-0. By 1881 both Ireland and Wales had representative teams, in 1883 the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship had begun. 1883 is the year of the first rugby sevens tournament, the Melrose Sevens, still held annually. Two important overseas tours took place in 1888: a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand—although a private venture, it laid the foundations for future British and Irish Lions tours. During the early history of rugby union, a time before commercial air travel, teams from different continents met; the first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe. Traditionally the most prestigious tours were the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making a tour of a Northern Hemisphere, the return tours made by a joint British and Irish team.
Tours would last for months, due to the number of games undertaken. Touring international sides would play Test matches against international opponents, including national and county sides in the case of Northern Hemisphere rugby, or provincial/state sides in the case of Southern Hemisphere rugby. Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, were far more successful than critics had expected; the New Zealand 1905 touri
Samoa A national rugby union team
Samoa A is a national representative rugby union team of the Samoan rugby union. It is the second-tier side to the Samoa national rugby union team. Samoa A competes in the Pacific Challenge known as the Pacific Rugby Cup, against teams including Tonga A and Fiji Warriors. Since 2016, the team has competed in the Americas Pacific Challenge. Between 2006 and 2010, Samoa was represented by two teams at the Pacific Rugby Cup; the two teams were replaced in 2011 by Samoa A, now the sole Samoan representative in the Pacific Challenge. The tournament is now contested by national'A' teams. Matches against national teams or national'A" teams up to and including 2014 Pacific Rugby Cup: Pacific Rugby Cup Runner-up: 2011, 2012, 2013. Americas Pacific Challenge Winner: 2018. Pacific Challenge Americas Pacific Challenge 2014 Pacific Rugby Cup News on oceaniarugby.com
The USA Sevens is a rugby sevens tournament held annually during March in Las Vegas in the United States. The USA Sevens is the largest annual rugby competition in North America, drawing over 60,000 fans, is broadcast live in the United States by ESPN; the USA Sevens was introduced in 2004, has been held at its current home, Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas every February since 2010. The USA Sevens tournament features 16 teams representing countries from every continent, including the host, the U. S. national team. The USA Sevens is the fifth of ten tournaments on the Sevens World Series; the Sevens World Series is played throughout the world at nine other venues: Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and England. The tournament consists of 16 countries participating in 45 matches over a three-day weekend; the 16 teams are divided into four pools of four teams, with seeding determined by finishes in the previous competition in the Sevens World Series. Wins are worth three points, draws two, losses one.
The top two teams from each group progress to the quarterfinals to compete for the Cup and Plate. The bottom two teams from each group participate in the Shield competitions. Through the 2011–12 edition, the sixteen participating teams were the 12 "core" members of the Sevens World Series circuit, along with 4 additional qualifying teams—other teams that qualified multiple times during the 2009–2012 span included Japan, Canada and Guyana. Starting with the 2012–13 season, the number of core teams increased from 12 to 15, with Canada and Portugal earning the three new slots; the USA Sevens is the largest annual rugby competition in North America. The tournament has grown in popularity since the tournament began in 2004. In recent years, a number of events have accelerated the surge in popularity, including the announcement in 2009 that rugby would return to the Summer Olympics, the general growth of rugby in the United States, the improved performance of the U. S. national rugby team including their success in reaching the semi-finals of the 2009 USA Sevens, NBC's decision to begin televising the tournament beginning in 2011.
Tournament attendance has grown since its inception in 2004. The tournament drew 15,800 fans in 2004, 25,000 fans in 2007, 35,773 in 2008, 37,000 fans in 2009; the tournament switched to a three-day format in 2011. The 2012 tournament's second-day attendance of 30,112 set a new record for the largest crowd to watch a rugby event in the United States; the 2013 tournament broke attendance records again, with total attendance of 67,341. The 2014 tournament again saw record attendance, with 68,608 fans, despite the fact that the tournament had been moved to January to avoid the 2014 Winter Olympics; the profile and visibility of the USA Sevens has increased in the United States since NBC began broadcasting the tournament in 2011, marking the first time that the tournament had live television coverage on network TV in the United States. NBC Sports and Universal Sports broadcast eight hours of live coverage of the 2011 tournament, including 4 hours of coverage on NBC. NBC increased its television coverage for the 2012 tournament, showing 10 hours of live coverage, including 4 hours on NBC and 4 hours on NBC Sports.
The 2012 USA Sevens earned strong ratings of 0.7 on NBC, beating other popular sports events that weekend such as the Detroit v. Philadelphia NHL game and the Alabama v. LSU basketball game. NBC again increased its TV coverage in 2013, with 16 hours of coverage across three channels, including 4 hours on NBC and 6 hours on NBC Sports; the 2014 USA Sevens drew ratings of 0.7 on 1.0 on Sunday. The 2016 USA Sevens had 7 hours of TV coverage across NBCSN and NBC, but only 1 hour on NBC. NBC Sports has displayed an increased interest in broadcasting rugby since the International Olympic Committee's announcement in 2009 that rugby would return to the Summer Olympics in 2016. NBC Sports has recognized that its partnership with USA Sevens to broadcast the tournament will help grow the sport of rugby in the United States. Fueled in part by the publicity generated by the NBC broadcasts and rugby's return to the Olympics, the USA Sevens has been successful in lining up several blue-chip corporate sponsors.
For the 2011 tournament, sponsors included Bridgestone, Subway and ADT. The tournament was successful in landing commercial sponsors for 2012, including Adidas, Pepsi, DHL, Subway and others. Effective with the 2010–11 series, the London-based global financial services company HSBC became the title sponsor of the overall IRB Sevens World Series; the USA Sevens tournament has been a part of the World Rugby Sevens Series every year since its 2004 debut. This makes the USA Sevens tournament one of the longer running consecutive hosts on the circuit; the USA Sevens debuted at the Home Depot Center, now known as Dignity Health Sports Park, in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California in February 2004. This competition marked the first time the United States hosted an official IRB event of international importance. USA Rugby was awarded the right to host the USA Sevens for three years, in part because rugby was recognized as one of the fastest growing team sports in the U. S. In 2005, USA Rugby sold a 90% interest in USA Sevens, LLC to United World Sports, LLC, with USA Rugby retaining the remaining 10% ownership interest.
In August 2006, USA Rugby and the International Rugby Board renewed the contract for the USA Sevens to remain in the IRB Sevens World Series. The USA Sevens tournament was held from 2007 to 2009 in San Diego at Petco Park, the home field of the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball. San Diego was an appeali
Fiji national rugby union team
The Fiji national rugby union team competes every four years at the Rugby World Cup, their best performances were the 1987 and 2007 tournaments when they defeated Argentina and Wales to reach the quarterfinals. Fiji regularly plays test matches during the June and November test windows. Fiji plays in the Pacific Tri-Nations, has won the most Pacific Tri-Nations Championships of the three participating teams. Fiji is one of the few countries. There are 80,000 registered players from a total population of around 950,000. One of the problems for Fiji is getting their rugby players to play for Fiji as a country, as many have contracts in Europe or with Super Rugby teams where the money is far more rewarding; the repatriated salaries of its overseas stars have become an important part of some local economies. The cibi war dance is performed by the Fiji rugby team before each Test match, it has been used on the rugby field since 1939, though its origins date back to the country's warring times with its Pacific neighbours.
Rugby was first played in Fiji by European and Fijian soldiers of the Native Constabulary at Ba, on Viti Levu Island in 1884. In 1913 a Union was founded for the European settlers. In December 1913, the All Blacks, touring so successfully in California, were on their way back to New Zealand; the Fiji RFU arranged a game with them at Albert Park, the first representative match to be played in the colony. The Fiji team were Europeans; the All Blacks won 67–3. By 1914 a'native competition' was started and in 1915 a Fiji Native Union was begun and became affiliated to the Fiji RFU. Fiji played their first international against Western Samoa in Apia, Samoa on 18 August 1924. Fiji's 20-man squad came from the five registered native clubs of the time; the match was played at 7 am to allow the Samoans time to get to work afterwards and was played on a pitch with a large tree on the halfway line. Fiji won 6 -- 0 despite playing barefoot; the return match was won 9–3 by Samoa to draw the series. The first-ever Fiji test team continued their overseas adventure with a nine-match tour of Tonga.
Though Fiji lost the first test played in Nukuʻalofa 9–6, they were not to lose again, taking the second test 14–3 drawing the decider 0–0. They won all six of the matches against non-test opposition. Auckland University College were the first overseas side to visit Fiji in 1926, The Kiwi students played the Fiji Europeans and finished the three-match series with a win and draw. Tonga visited Fiji that year and for the first time Fiji played in their present strip of white jersey, palm tree badge and black shorts; the three match series finished level with Tonga winning the first test 9–6. During the 1927 season, a General Meeting was called for the purpose of arranging a return visit to New Zealand at the invitation of Auckland University; some 30 players expressed their willingness to make the trip, but after all arrangements had been made, there were insufficient players available so management cancelled the trip, much to the regret of Auckland. Between 1924 and 1938 Fiji and Tonga played three test series every alternate year.
During this period this was the only representative rugby union. Matches between the two Pacific nations were hard fought. Troubles during the third Test of Fiji's 1928 tour to Tonga forced the game to be abandoned with Tonga losing 11–8 The first New Zealand Māori team to visit Fiji came in 1938. Fijians played in boots for the first time but there was still a tendency to take off boots during the match and throw them to the touch-line. On the five-match tour, the Māori beat Fiji 2nd XV and Fiji Europeans before playing a three match series; the first test ended in a 3–3 draw, the second an 11–5 win for the Fijians and the Māori won the final test 6–3 to square the series. In 1939 Fiji toured New Zealand for the first time. Fiji's captain for that tour, Ratu Sir George Cakobau, decided that his side should have a war dance to rival the haka, he approached Ratu Bola, the high chief of the warrior clan of Navusaradave in Bau, who taught them the cibi, Fiji's pre-match ritual since. With many players still preferring to play barefoot, the Fijians played with a care-free spirit and created history by becoming the first team to go through a full tour of New Zealand unbeaten, winning seven and drawing one, a record that stands to this day.
They played and beat the Māori again 14–4. Fiji toured New Zealand again in 1951, they beat the New Zealand Māori 21–14. Fiji's first tour of Australia helped the Australian Rugby Union recover from the brink of bankruptcy in 1952; the Test series was drawn 1–1 in front of record crowds. Australia won the first test 15–9 but the Fijians took the second with a 17–15 win. A second tour of Australia again drew record crowds. Again Australia won the first test but only by 22–19; the test series was drawn 1–1 after Fiji won the second test 18–16. The same year Fiji played host to Western Samoa. Fiji toured New Zealand again in 1957 and beat the Māoris 36–13 in Dunedin and 17–8 in Wellington defeated a strong Auckland team 38–17. In 1964 Fiji toured Europe for the first time, they played five memorable games in Wales, culminating in a classic encounter in Cardiff, talked about for years. Wales conceded six tries for just the second time in their history. In 1970 a rampant Fijian side destroyed the Barbarians 29–9 at Gosforth.