CAPE FEAR, N.C.--A summer tradition took center stage in the Port City, as the Cape Fear Rugby Club hosted its 38th Annual Sevens Tournament.
Rugby isn't as popular as baseball or basketball in the United States, but for Toeshi Palamo who plays for the Pacific Island Barbarians, the sport is more than just a hobby, it's a way of life.
"Rugby is a part of our culture, Polynesian and we grow up playing the sport so it's a passion for us," said Palamo.
Toeshi and his teammates traveled from different parts of the United States to display their passion in the Cape Fear Sevens Rugby Tournament.
It's an event that features a sport which combines the speed of soccer and the contact of football.
"Rugby is a very tough sport with the physicality and endurance. Gotta play offense and defense," said Palamo.
This is the third year Toeshi and his teammates made the trip to play in the tournament, and the level of competition is what attracts teams like the Barbarians.
Events like the Cape Fear Sevens are helping the sport gradually gain popularity in southeastern North Carolina and beyond.
“Rugby is part part of the Olympics now and in 2016 it will be down in Brazil for Rugby to elevate in the U.S. I think probably in the next four years it's going to be a big sport," said Palamo.
Toeshi and his teammates said their sights aren't set on competing in the 2016 Olympics, but they plan on being back in the Port City next summer for the Cape Fear Sevens Tournament.