FACTS to date.
· Non-qualification of the Manu Samoa for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
· The 78 - nil result against the All Blacks is a true reflection of the continuous decline in the performances of our Manu Samoa in the past few years.
· The Manu Sevens have failed to make the Top 8 in the past few years, currently ranked 13th, the worst ever placing and this is despite the recruitment of the so-called Sir Gordon Tietjens and his son.
· The U20’s have been relegated from the Top tier after failing to win a single game at the recent World Champs
· Women’s rugby is non-existent
· Local development of the game is non-existent
· Serious lack of local player representation in the National Teams
· Manu Brand a laughable matter
· Highly paid administrators/coaches at S.R.U ie C.E.O/H.P.U Manager/Manu HC/Sevens Coach etc with the word being, that the combined value of the four positions mentioned is in excess of 1.5 million tala per year. Add to that are the support staff (coaches/trainers/physios etc, etc) which would put wages along at around $2.5million tala plus per year. This represents a phenomenal amount for the returns on investment we are getting, i.e 78 point thrashings, relegations, lack of player development, etc, etc.
The Facts translated into reality
It is by far the worst period of poor performances by Samoa Rugby.
The sad concern is Samoa Rugby had a good performance brand. S.R.U may have improved with its governance but the bottom line is the results are not produced on the field. The World Cup qualification is just around the corner and dare I say it, it is no longer a certainty as first predicted by many at S.R.U.
Uninformed decision-making has been at the forefront and core of this situation.
From the selection of the current Manu Coach Alama Ieremia who was highly instrumental in the worst ever World Cup campaign the Manu has participated in; and then add to that the U20’s Coach, Mahonry Schwalger, who has no Coaching pedigree to speak of; and then add to that the embarrassing episode regarding Damien McGrath as a further example.
The Results speak for themselves. The 78 - 0 embarrassment for Manu Samoa and the relegation for the U20’s and the continuous failure of Manu Sevens to at least make the Top 8.
One of the saddest issues is the almost non-representation by local players in the National Teams.
This is a clear indication of how the development of the game locally has disintegrated and again clear evidence that S.R.U is not doing enough to develop the local talent.
The appointment of the current Director of Development is proof of this. Just like the U20’s Coach, he has no coaching pedigree nor any prior experience in Player Development. No wonder there is a serious lack of player depth and grassroots development.
It’s concerning to see the current U20’s squad is represented of approximately 80% of overseas based players.
The current Manu Samoa squad only has two local players. What is this telling us? Is S.R.U in the business of developing overseas-based payers and coaches for the benefit of their clubs abroad?
There have been many critics of the Board on various issues but with this current situation the blame lies squarely with the C.E.O, Director of Rugby and the H.P.U Manager. They have to be held accountable. Basically, the Board would be well advised to conduct performance reviews of the individuals that hold these positions and take action.
The game against Wales this week should be a sure bet for the Manu.
The fact is, this is a Welsh team missing almost their entire first team plus their three main coaches, due to commitments to the British Lions Tour.
It is literally Wales development team.
A loss at home is unacceptable and I suspect the Board will no longer tolerate these ongoing poor performances and will hopefully put these highly-paid individuals to account. They owe this to Samoa and its supporters. How much longer can they rely on the humility of Samoa supporters with such devastating performances? Front up.
Finally, I would like to remind S.R.U of one remaining FACT, that despite all the efforts, resources and money funding overseas based players and coaches, the best ever results in the history of Samoa Rugby with the Manu 15’s, Manu 7’s and Manu U20’s have been when there has been a high representation by local players coached by local coaches.