Sacked Manu Samoa Sevens coach and the man who has led Canada to their first title on the HSBC Sevens Series, Damian McGrath, has found support from an unlikely place.
In response to questions from the Samoa Observer, the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, had nothing but praise for the Englishman.
“Canada ought to be congratulated for a well-deserved victory in Singapore,” Faleomavaega said.
“It goes to show that there are no easy beats in the H.S.B.C. competition and on any given day, anyone can beat the top teams. We have shown glimpses of our potential in this competition but we are not quite there yet.”
Last year, the Union sacked McGrath in a very public falling out.
The coach responded by taking legal action against the Union. The matter has been referred to mediation.
In the meantime, the man who had coached the Manu Samoa Sevens to the Paris Sevens title, was immediately picked up by Canada.
Samoa on the other hand appointed Sevens guru, Sir Gordon Tietjens to coach the team.
Since the beginning of the series this year, the men in blue have yet to reach the Cup playoffs and are sitting dangerously close to the bottom of the ladder.
Still, Faleomavaega is optimistic.
While he is disappointed with the recent results, he believes the team will get better over time.
“The team trained and prepared well all week and no one is more disappointed than the players themselves,” he said about the team’s performance in Singapore last week.
“The coach and management team are determined and working really hard with the support of the Union to bring the results we all wish for.
“Like everyone, we had hoped for our team to break through to make the Cup Quarter finals competition but again, we just weren’t quite good enough to beat Australia, Argentina initially to guarantee a place in the Cup.”
The next leg of the Series is in Paris, a title Samoa will have to defend having won it last year under the guidance of McGrath.