Samoa Rugby Team Seeks New Coach; Local Hire Unlikely

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

18 candidates put names forward to head Manu Samoa

By David De Lorean

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Dec. 10, 2015) – The Manu Samoa is unlikely to have a local take over as Head Coach, if the independent panel assessing candidates for the job has its say.

The Panel is chaired by Graham Mourie, a renowned former All Black Captain, who is representing World Rugby. Brian Hopley, from the S.R.U, is another panellist.

Alex Abraham, from Bluesky, represents the sponsors and stakeholders of the S.R.U. while S.R.U. Secretary, Matafeo George Latu, is acting as Secretary.

The panel, which was appointed at the end of November, has met via teleconference and shortlisted three candidates. Mr. Hopley confirmed there are no locals on that shortlist.

He would not be drawn on where the shortlisted candidates have come from, nor would he comment any further about the shortlisted candidates.

Last month, the Samoa Observer reported applications for the Head Coach job with the Manu Samoa had closed, with 18 people putting their names forward.

Of that 18, four were locals.

The remainder came from all over the world, from areas including Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

In an interview yesterday, Samoa Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, detailed the make-up of the independent panel.

The panellists were appointed by the S.R.U. Reforms Committee, under the mandate of the S.R.U. board, Faleomavaega said.

He expected the panel would be very busy over the next few weeks, as the S.R.U. wants a nominee for the Head Coach job before the year is up.

Only three weeks remain of 2015.

"The plan is still there, to make an announcement before the end of the year," Faleomavaega said.

He said the board was likely to accept the recommendation for the job made by the independent panel, once they had chosen their ideal candidate.

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