Former Manu Samoa midfielder, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu has spoken out against the Samoa Rugby Union’s decision to recruit Sir Gordon Tietjens as the new coach of the Manu Samoa Sevens.
In a wide-ranging interview with Planet Rugby, the outspoken former player who is a lawyer by profession said as great as Tietjens is, he will struggle to communicate with the locals players.
“Samoa is a different beast,” he told Planet Rugby.
“You have to understand that every professional coach in New Zealand is the beneficiary of an intense rugby culture. Children start rugby at four or five years old. Kids here (in Samoa) start competitive rugby at high school.
“High schools in New Zealand have state of the art facilities and more money than Manu Samoa. Our high schools use tree trunks for goalposts. Most players here have no boots. No ball. No mouthguard. Coaching in the Pacific requires far more depth in philosophy.
Tietjens is lucky to have Stephen Betham right by his side. A great local coach who understands Samoa inside out and has proven that we can win the World Series with all locals and no money.”
Fuimaono Sapolu was also critical of the amount of money the S.R.U is set to spend on Tietjens.
“Put it this way,” he said.
“It was published in Samoa two weeks ago how much the highest paid government ministers and public servants are being paid. Gordon Tietjens will be paid more than the Head of State, the highest paid government official. Tietjens will be paid more than the Prime Minister of Samoa.
“Coaches are professional too. As much as we romanticize their service, they ain’t in it for the fresh Pacific air and cultural experience. A brother gotta get paid.
Coaching Pacific teams is actually very lucrative. That’s why all these foreign coaches come to the Pacific. Money.
“Put it together with the world’s healthiest organic foods, sandy beaches, coconut trees, tropical weather and the best human rugby resource on the planet, who wouldn’t want to get paid in paradise? If he plays it right he’ll probably leave with a matai title and some land too. If he fails then he’ll be paddling back to New Zealand with a teaspoon.”
Read the fill interview at this link: http://www.planetrugby.com/news/exclusive-fuimaono-sapolu-on-tietjens-joining-samoa/