The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U), Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, is adamant they have not finalised the appointment of the new Manu Samoa coach.
In response to a story titled “New Manu Samoa coach” on the front page of the Samoa Observer yesterday, Faleomavaega said the story was incorrect since the Union still has processes to fulfill.
That includes having the appointment approved by the Board of the S.R.U, which has not been done, Faleomavaega said. The Board is chaired by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, who told the media last week that an announcement would be made soon.
How soon, he did not say.
But the C.E.O would not confirm or deny reports that Namualuulu Alama Ieremia is set to be named as the new Head Coach of the Manu Samoa.
Faleomavaega said the Union will make an official announcement but that is some time away as there are many issues to be ironed out.
He repeated that these issues include the approval by the Board of the S.R.U and then negotiations with the appointee on issues such as salary and other terms of employment.
Last night, the S.R.U issued the following statement:
“The Samoa Rugby Union would like to refute the article printed in the Samoa Observer Monday 21st December edition with respect to the appointment of the Manu Samoa Head Coach.
“The Samoa Rugby Union confirms that the Appointment has not been made and the selection process is still in progress with a decision to be formally announced on Wednesday 23rd December 2015 following its Executive Board meeting.”
Yesterday, the Samoa Observer quoted reliable sources that a selection panel, headed by former All Blacks captain, Graham Mourie, had opted for Namulauulu at the end of an exhaustive interviewing process involving close to 20 applicants.
“He was by far the best person for the job out of all the candidates,” the Samoa Observer was told.
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.
In other rugby matters, World Rugby has rejected suggestions it has 'taken over' the running of the S.R.U. World Rugby's General Manager of Asia/Oceania, William Glenwright, told Radio New Zealand that the reform process is being driven by the Samoa Rugby Union and they are simply providing assistance.
The S.R.U agreed to implement governance, management and financial reforms following talks with the sport's governing body at the end of last year.
Since then a new C.E.O, High Performance boss, General Manager and National Sevens coach have been appointed, with the bulk of those roles being taken by people from outside Samoa.
"I'm aware of concerns that a lot of those senior positions have been taken up by people that aren't Samoan,” said Mr. Glenwright.
“I don't accept that this is a 'World Rugby takeover' - in some of those positions we have sat on the selection panel, that is true, but we have been just one of three, four, sometimes five [people on the panel] and our only concern - as it is with the Samoa Rugby Union - is to ensure that we get the best possible people in the right positions that we can afford.
If those people can be Samoans then good and well but our main concern is getting the best possible people in place".
Mr. Glenwright says World Rugby also runs a thorough training and education programme that is committed to upskilling Samoa-based coaches, match officials, sports science and medicine staff and administrators.