A local person might not be the Coach of the Manu Samoa but the position holder will be a Samoan nonetheless.
That’s what the Samoa Observer can tell you as the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) is set to announce Namualuulu Alama Ieremia as the new Head Coach of the Manu Samoa, some time this week.
It was not possible to get an official comment from the S.R.U yesterday. Namulauulu had also declined to discuss the position when he was contacted.
The Samoa Observer, however, understands from reliable sources that a selection panel, headed by former All Blacks captain, Graham Mourie, opted for Namulauulu at the end of an exhaustive interviewing process involving close to 20 applicants.
The final selection came down to Namulauulu and another New Zealander. “He was by far the best person for the job out of all the candidates,” the Samoa Observer was told.
“While there were other overseas applicants, none of them had the experience of Alama and so in the end the panel made the recommendation and the Board has accepted it.”
The Samoa Observer can also reveal that none of the applicants was a well known Super rugby coach.
Namulauulu was the Assistant Coach during the Manu Samoa’s campaign at the Rugby World Cup this year.
He is also a former assistant coach of the Wellington Hurricanes.
*Born 27 October 1970 in Samoa, Namulauulu is a former Manu Samoa as well as a former All Black.
He played provincial rugby with Wellington and played in the former Super 12 with the Hurricanes. He played at centre and played professional rugby with Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath.
Namulauulu has the distinction of scoring the first ever try in Super rugby, against the Blues in the inaugural Super 12 match in Palmerston North in 1996.
He played internationals for Samoa during the 1992-93 season and was on the tour of New Zealand in 1993, playing in seven matches and for Samoa against the All Blacks at Eden Park in the first official international between the two countries.
But the following year Namulauulu and halfback Ofisa Tonu'u, as they were entitled to do at the time, changed their allegiances to New Zealand and both subsequently became All Blacks.
Namulauulu’s promotion was rapid for after the All Blacks had lost a two-test series against France in 1994 he was introduced for the three tests against the Springboks, playing at second five eighths with Frank Bunce, another who had been blooded by Samoa at test level, outside him at centre.
Namulauulu was in the 1995 World Cup squad, but played only the pool match against Japan. For most of 1995 and 1996 the All Blacks' preference was for Walter Little as Bunce's partner and it was only an injury to Little that gave Ieremia his first extensive run as a regular test selection in 1997.
An injury during the 1998 Super 12 ruled him out of All Black selection that year. But he returned in 1999 and for the first part of the international programme he was used mainly at centre but for the bulk of the World Cup later in the year he was back at second five.
In 2000 he was again an All Black first choice, mainly again as a centre.
Ieremia, a cheerful, articulate personality, was a strong, incisive runner and at 1.87m and 100 kg an imposing and powerful defender. He also had well developed skills and a solid boot. At his best, and when free from injury, he was one of the most consistently successful midfielders New Zealand rugby has had.
When he left New Zealand rugby at the end of the 2000 season to take up an overseas contract Ieremia had played 40 matches for the All Blacks, including 30 tests.
*Information from Wikipedia