Tributes flow for 'matriarch of Samoan rugby' Marina Schaafhausen, the 'Iron Lady'

A fitting and very emotional send off has been delivered for Marina Schaafhausen, the godmother of Samoan Rugby who died over the weekend, aged 83.

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Dubbed ‘the Iron Lady’, Shaafhausen managed the Samoan Rugby sevens team during the 1990’s and guided the team toward their first Hong Kong Sevens title in 1993. Source: 1 NEWS

The renown rugby administrator, also known as the Iron Lady, managed the Samoa Sevens team in 1989 before retiring in 1996.

She also managed the Moata'a Sevens championship team between 1988-1993, which is now regarded as one of the most successful rugby clubs for sevens in Samoa.

Those winning ways soon caught on internationally with Samoa able to upset both New Zealand and Fiji on their way to the 1993 Hong Kong Sevens title under her management.

Former Samoan rugby player Danny Kaleopa told 1 NEWS she was an icon.

“She’s the matriarch of Samoan rugby,” Kaleopa said.

“I just hope Samoan Rugby does something for her."

Schaafhausen was also successful off the field as a businesswoman with her coconut cream products, but instead of seeking a personal fortune she often contributed out of her own finances towards almost every rugby club and school in Samoa so they could have playing uniforms.

With restrictions on international travel and mass gatherings due to Covid-19, celebrating Schaafhausen’s life was kept to a small service on Monday night with many Samoan rugby greats in attendance.

Sir Michael Jones spoke along with Former Manu Samoa and Moata'a fullback Toleafoa Andy Aiolupo. Also in attendance were Kalolo Toleafoa, Mataio Leupolu, Tupuola Pasitale Faoagali, Danny Leaupepe, Aumua Mano To'o Vaega, Va'a Vitale and Loau Saito Sililoto.

Simply put, they all agreed Schaafhausen will be universally remembered as a tough woman with a huge heart – their Iron Lady.