The “cash strapped” Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) has “no other choice” but to do what World Rugby wants.
That’s the admission from the Chairman of S.R.U., Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, in light of the Union’s decision to advertise for a new Manu Samoa coach a year before the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Announced three weeks ago, the decision means Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua who coached the team through the qualification rounds, and won, was effectively sacked.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa, however, said Fuimaono could re-apply and if he does well during the interview process, he could keep his position.
“In the end money dictates our actions,” Tuilaepa is quoted as saying in an interview released by his Office yesterday.
“Presently our annual budget is about $10million and World Rugby funds the most. If the panel recommends our present coach, and accepted by the Board, then World Rugby will provide the funds. That is, Tafua’s appointment is dependent on his performance during the interview. The final decision is in Tafua’s own two hands.”
The Prime Minister did not reveal who is on the selection panel. The Samoa Observer however understands that a World Rugby official will sit on the panel.
The coaching position was re-advertised three weeks ago and Tuilaepa said the final decision has yet to be made.
In the meantime, Tuilaepa explained what led to the Union’s decision.
“You see now that we are qualified, the S.R.U. had contacted the World Rugby to now pay for our Manu Samoa Coach and his Management Team,” he said.
“S.R.U. is always cash strapped. You will recall that we did not follow the World Rugby process when our Board selected Tafua as our Manu Samoa Coach despite the fact the panel ranked him sixth, the reason being that Tafua’s record as former coach of Manu Samoa was quite good."
“Now that we raised the issue again with World Rugby, S.R.U. was required to adopt the selection process of World Rugby in order for our request to be given the Ok.
“This World Rugby process is applicable worldwide and in the interest of attracting World Rugby financing we urgently need, we are left with no other choice but to observe World Rugby’s requirements which all Rugby Nations of the World also observe.”
Fuimaono has expressed disappointment about the decision. He has yet to confirm if he is re-applying.