Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has blamed the Manu Samoa Sevens poor form on the H.S.B.C. World Sevens Series on the lack of education.
The Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union has also rejected criticisms of Sir Gordon Tietjens, leveling the blame on the players and their ability to learn.
“It is not the coach,” Tuilaepa said during his weekly media programme.
“This is solely the result of the players' performance. Keep in mind some of the players were not educated properly.
“Looking at players from Africa and Britain, if you ask about their educational backgrounds, you will find that they attend universities.
“But what about our players? Well that is the struggle faced by the coach given that our players, some of whom did not reach standard four.”
Standard Four is the equivalent of Year 4 in Primary School today.
Tuilaepa called on the country to be patient with the team. He said he is concerned that Sir Gordon might become discouraged by all the criticisms and leave.
“We should be patient. I am worried in case the Coach gives up on our team.
“Keep in mind, he is one of the most highly qualified Coaches in the world of rugby and holds countless winning records.
“I just pray the Coach will not give up on our team,” said Tuilaepa.
“I’m worried the Coach may say that his reputation in New Zealand has been tarnished with results of players who are not well educated.”
Last month, S.R.U. Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, in response to public concerns on Sir Tietjen’s performance, said there’s a procedure to follow.
“There’s still a process that the Samoa Rugby Union is following about the contract with the Manu Samoa Sevens Coach. There will be a review and evaluation to be done after the series, but at the moment we can’t operate that because the series is still in process.
“Results are something no one can tap into. It all comes down to the performance by the players and the coach as well is already aware of the pressure and expectations from our country as well as the Samoa Rugby Union.
“But after the H.S.B.C. Sevens Series in process at the moment and the Sevens World Cup in July, then we will have the review for Sir Tietjens.
“We also have a few people here assisting our coach with the technical side of the team, to assessing what the team lacks because Samoa Rugby Union based their selection of Sir Gordon for the long run and to develop the players.”
Faleomavaega defended the coach’s performance so far.
“We’ve had mixed results so far up and down from our team and we can’t quite put our finger on Gordon."
“The Union has also been consulting the players about any issues within the team and we are not taking the matter lightly.
“We’re very concerned, especially because we are in 12th place of the H.S.B.C. World Sevens Series, so we are hoping for things to turn around pretty much quickly. We can only support them as much as we can.”
Samoa is now ranked 9th on the H.S.B.C. Sevens with two more tournaments remaining. It was not possible to get a comment from Sir Gordon yesterday.