The Manu Samoa Sevens captain, Alatasi Tupou, is on his way back from London, having been sent home to face the consequences of his drunken actions before the team left.
The veteran Sevens player has been dumped from the team as the Samoa Rugby Union tightens the screw on bad behavior by adopting “zero tolerance of any misconduct.”
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, the Union’s Chief Executive Officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, said he is disappointed about Tupou’s behaviour.
Tupou has been charged for drunk driving. He has also been accused of acting in a disorderly manner in public during a drunken incident last weekend.
The Manu Samoa 7's team is in London for the ninth round of the H.S.B.C. Sevens to be held at Twickenham Stadium on 2-3 June. According to Faleomavaega, the player is due to arrive on Sunday.
Tupou is a contracted player and Faleomavaega said there are details in his contract, which prohibit such actions.
“This is a huge disappointment to the Samoa Rugby Union given he’s the captain of the team,” he said.
“And there are disciplinary actions that have to be taken, which is clear in his contract that when such issues arise and alcohol is involved, it is a very serious matter."
“This is not something taken lightly by the S.R.U. and he’s well aware the performance of the team, it is not in the best phase at this time."
“It is sad, unfortunately we only found out on Monday when the team had already left on Sunday; otherwise we would have removed him from the team right away."
“The coach treats them as professional rugby players and we expect that in return. I mean we treat them as adults and I would think the player would act in an adult manner as well.'
“We can’t police them 24-7 and I am gutted with what had occurred,” said Faleomavaega.
The C.E.O. says Alatasi is well aware of his responsibilities.
“This is not really a matter that we will turn a blind eye on, it’s critical with public perception and the S.R.U."
“We have a process in place and we need to have the player come back to answer to the High Performance Unit Disciplinary Team,” said Faleomavaega.
“We have given them everything and unfortunately he has to answer for his actions and he’s well aware of it. He’s a contracted player and this is one of the last things we want."
“We are trying to finish on the high end, to put up a good performance for the fans, sponsors and the country."
“We carry a burden in trying to make our people happy and make our fans happy but when these issues arise, it is a setback,” said Faleomavaega.
“Alatasi is an integral part of the team, however these kinds of things we just cannot allow to brush under the carpet."
“Unfortunately, it has occurred and he’s the leader of the team and so he has to lead by example but this we will not tolerate."
“He’s been a star player for many years, and he should know better.”
Yesterday, the Samoa Rugby Union issued a statement about Tupou.
Manu Samoa Sevens captain Alatasi Tupou has been stood down and sent home to Samoa due to disciplinary reasons.
Upon arrival, Alatasi will front the Samoan Rugby H.P.U. Integrity Unit.
“S.R.U. expects high standard of conduct from all players and management representing our country with a zero tolerance of any misconduct within any Manu Samoa team,” a statement from the Samoa Rugby Union said.
“We have made contact with our Manu Samoa 7's management to stand him down until further notice."
“He will arrive in the country by the end of the week and will front the Samoan Rugby H.P.U. Integrity Unit for his disciplinary hearing.”
Samoa is preparing for the last two legs of the World Rugby Sevens Series and the World Cup later this year.