Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has opened up about the challenges of running Samoan rugby.
“Despite enduring many difficult challenges over the years in my career, I can tell you that almost none have been more challenging or satisfying and frustrating at the time than in my roles as Chairman of Samoa Rugby Union,” he said.
Tuilaepa was speaking at the launch of the Manu Samoa Old Boys Association in Auckland New Zealand last Thursday.
But in spite of all the challenges and the Manu Samoa’s shortcomings on the field, “Manu Samoa rugby continues to be the face of Samoa on the international stage,” noted the Prime Minister.
“No other sport comes close to stirring the mood of the nation with the obsessive passion that our people have for our Manu Samoa Teams,” he said.
“Across the world Manu Samoa rugby is recognized and celebrated by people all over the world who love our lack of arrogance our friendly and embracing customs our strong Christian values and most of all our great tolerance and resilience against much bigger, better resourced and better represented Unions.”
“We believe that anything is possible and we can take charge of our own destiny. And most of all, we derive an immense sense of satisfaction when we win when no one else expects us to.”
“As a nation we have a deeply held conviction, that we can and must achieve our full potential on the international sporting stage.”
Tuilaepa is also very mindful of the responsibilities and consequences as S.R.U. Board Chairman.
“I know full well the weight of carrying the hopes and dreams of Samoan people all over the world for their national rugby teams,” he added. “This is a Union which has faced many challenges around the board table and on the field.”
“We are a Union with endless financial tension that is continuously in the public arena, and haunted by its past failures and at times we have copped unfair and scathing criticism.”
On the world stage, Prime Minister Tuilaepa says that it never ceases to amaze or profoundly inspire him, when Manu face their opponents on the rugby field with our people regardless of where they are in the world forget the challenges and failures of the past and for the duration of that match Samoans worldwide are completely uncompromising in their often very loud and very proud support of the Manu Samoa teams.
“It would have been easy to throw in the towel when our job as administrators and governors became too hard. But how could possibly give up when our teams and our people stubbornly refuse to give up on their beloved Manu?”
Manu Samoa is preparing to host Wales this weekend.
It will be the tenth time the two international sides have met with Wales winning five times.
The last clash between the two was at Cardiff Stadium in Wales where Manu Samoa lost 19-26.