World Rugby forces S.R.U.'s hand

World Rugby has urged Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) to urgently find a suitable replacement for the Manu Samoa 15's head coach position and recruit high level technical advisors for the Rugby World Cup campaign. 

This was revealed in a letter dated August 23, 2018 by World Rugby general manager of high performance, Peter Horne which was addressed to the S.R.U. C.E.O. Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i.  

The sport’s governing body has also offered to subsidise the recruitment of a head coach and technical advisers for the S.R.U. but under certain conditions, including the panel’s recommendations of the preferred candidate for the head coach to be endorsed and supported by the S.R.U.

World Rugby is also supportive of the move by the S.R.U. for a suitable replacement for the head coach, the letter indicated.  

“I write with reference to our recent discussion on the above roles (head coach and general manager of H.P.U.) with your union’s H.P. programme."

“I understand that the recent annual review revealed that Zane Hilton is over-extended combining his general manager role with coaching support for the head coach, (Fuimaono) Titimaea Tafu, which is detrimentally effecting H.P. programmer operations.” 

Repeated efforts to get comments from Fuimaono, including a visit to his residence have been unsuccessful as of press time. 

“Further, the need for Zane to provide coaching support has come about due to the deficiencies in the elite coaching ability of the head coach,” the letter added. 

Mr. Horne says World Rugby supports the S.R.U. board’s decision to have Zane return to his role as general manager of H.P.U.  

“This best serve the programme, including the upcoming northern tour with important R.W.C. 2019 preparation matches against U.S.A., Georgia and Spain,” said Mr. Horne.

World Rugby will subsidise the recruitment of a head coach and technical advisors on the conditions the recruitment and selection process for the head coach is conducted transparently, against agreed criteria by a panel of five members including two S.R.U. representatives, two World Rugby representatives and an independent chair.  

“The panel’s recommendations of the preferred candidate for the head coach shall be endorsed and upheld by the S.R.U. board." 

“The preferred candidates shall be offered the role and should they decline, the second ranked candidates shall be offered the role and so on." 

“Once employed, the new head coach shall engage with the General Manager High Performance and two World Rugby representatives to recruit appropriate Technical Advisors,” stated Mr. Horne.  

Furthermore, the World Rugby indicated that only existing World Rugby H.P. investment shall be used to subsidise the roles of the head coach and any technical advisors. 

Mr. Horne indicated that it is important to note that H.P. investment was decreased to $1.68 million from $1.98 million in 2017. 

“This is due to under performance on field and off field,” said Mr. Horne. 

Furthermore, Mr. Horne outlined that in light of future potential of the playing squad an incentive of more than $214,000 per annum for 2018-2019 was placed upon the union qualifying for R.W.C. 2019 and continuing to meet all other terms and conditions of investment. 

“Now that qualification has been achieved, the amount of $70,000 euros (T$215, 220) will be released and can be prioritised for the recruitment of the head coach and technical advisors,” said Mr. Horne.

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