Review Committee Identifies Key Factors In Samoa National Rugby Team's Decline

'Poor fitness, alcohol issues, disrespect for the blue jersey' see Manu Samoa finish at the bottom of Pacific Nations Cup

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Aug. 10, 2017) – Poor fitness, alcohol issues, disrespect for the blue jersey are some of the reasons identified as key factors in the Manu Samoa’s failed campaign which has led to the resignation of the Head Coach.

The issues are highlighted in a report by a Review Committee appointed by the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) Board following the team’s recent form which has seen Samoa’s international ranking slump to an all time low of 16th in the world. 

[PIR editor's note: The full report can be found on the Samoa Observer website, scroll down to read report.]

Having finished bottom of the Pacific Nations Cup, Samoa has also yet to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. 

The Review Committee was chaired by Masoe Norman Wetzell with members including Leituala Dr. Ben Matalavea, Su’a Peter Schuster, Namulauulu Sami Leota and Mike McGovern of World Rugby.  

A copy of the review obtained by the Samoa Observer shows that the Committee recommended changing the Head Coach. 

“That a change in the Manu Samoa leadership is evident starting from the Head Coach,” the Committee’s report recommends. 

“Committee feels that the H.C had has enough time to make improvement in the team but despite all the support given, the team had reached an all-time low and the committee is not confident that he is able to take the team any further.”

The report details a disastrous campaign plagued by numerous problems.

“There were five players that left campaign before it is completed. This had greatly disrupted the team’s preparation. Two of these players that left was due to family and personal reasons, whilst the other two stated pressures from their clubs. One had left without any communication with team management.

“This is understood to have never happened before in any MS campaign and we believe it shows a level of disrespect, pride and priority from these players to the HC and his management, the players, the people and country they represent.”

When the players turned up for the international season, many were unfit.

“This was evident when they turned up to the campaign unfit and some left without advising management. As clearly stated by one of the TAs, “some players have agendas and some treated playing for the team as an opportunity to get home for holiday”

He further added, “as usual the clear majority if not all the squad assemble in very poor condition aerobically… the step from Club rugby to TEST rugby is massive and never was this more evident than during the All Blacks test. We are kidding ourselves if we intend moving forward as a nation and do not address these key issues” 

The TA also went on to suggest that players should be more involved making them accountable for their own futures and that at no stage of the campaign he (TA) got the feeling that the boys would walk over broken glass to win for each other.

“The disrespect for the jersey is also evident with reports coming in of certain players drinking at the hotel and out in local pubs, although this was denied by management as rumors. The Managers report showed that there was a no drinking policy but obviously this was poorly managed by him, as this was not adhered to.”

The Committee was given two weeks for the review and submit their report. 

Samoa Observer
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