Media Question Why Former Manu Samoa Captain Left Off Team List

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Rugby manager dismisses questions, blames ‘typing error’

By Mata’afa Keni Les

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 6, 2014) – The Manager of the Manu Samoa, Namulauulu Sami Leota, was yesterday forced to explain why former captain, Mahonri Schwalger, has not been included in the team.

The Manager fielded a barrage of questions from the media, contrary to reports that the selection of the man dubbed the People's captain had been rejected by the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) Board.

"The selection by the coaches has prioritised three hookers," Namulauulu said.

"The coaches have made their selection with an eye on the World Cup and that’s how the team was picked."

Namulauulu said the coaching staff could only select a certain number of players for a position.

"We have also used the chance to develop young talents like Andrew Williams."

At that point, the Manager was interrupted. He was told that the national selectors’ list, leaked to the media, initially had 48 players.

However, when the Samoa Rugby Union released the approved list, it had been reduced to 47, with Schwalger’s name removed.

"Maybe that was typing error," Namulauulu responded.

If it was a typing error, will you put him back, the Manager was asked.

"For any tournament, there is a limit of players you can select," he responded.

"With the selection of the P.N.C, the limit was 30. We can only pick so many players for a position.

"The team that was given is the team that’s been chosen."

Pressed if Schwalger’s name was deliberately removed, Namulauulu responded: "Maybe the list the media is mistaken about is the wider squad.

"The final squad was selected and that’s the list that you have been given."

So was his named removed?

"He was in the wider squad."

So is his name still in the wider squad?

"Yes," he conceded.

Schwalger’s non-selection has continued to raise eyebrows among Manu Samoa supporters in Samoa and all over the world.

Despite being in fine form for the Chiefs for the past two Super rugby seasons, the Samoa Rugby Union has continued to ignore him.

Having made his debut in 2000 against Wales, Schwalger has played in two World Cup campaigns, captaining Samoa to the last one in New Zealand.

But since then, he has been dropped after openly speaking out against the abuse and mismanagement in Manu Samoa.

Schwalger arrived in Samoa on Wednesday.

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