P.M. says S.R.U. Board vetted new coach’s appointment

Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union Board, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says the appointment of Steve Jackson as the new Manu Samoa head coach has been endorsed by the S.R.U. Board. 

He made the announcement in a press conference yesterday, which was convened in his office upon his return to the country, after completing various international engagements abroad. 

His position on the matter differs from the S.R.U. president Namulauulu Sami Leota and board member and interview panelists Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun, who have both come out publicly recently expressing disappointment in the recruitment process, which led to the appointment of New Zealander Steve Jackson. 

The S.R.U. duo were adamant the appointment was not vetted by the Board, but the Prime Minister and Board Chairman disagreed yesterday, saying the Board met prior to him travelling overseas. 

“We agreed that whatever decision concluded by the panel, we will accept it. We shouldn’t be cocky about the decision by the panel,” said the P.M. 

He said the difference of opinion in the selection process – where the interview panel recommended a head coach and the Board changed it – has happened before in the history of the S.R.U.

“The panel’s nomination had our guy (Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua) as the number sixth, in the interview and yet we still hired him as the coach. And so what happened, we ended up paying for his salary along with salaries of the assistant coaches. 

“We asked the World Rugby to pay for their hefty salaries. But they refused and I am tired of debating over this, hence the decision before I left that whatever decision by the panel, we will support it,” he said.

He also noted that the S.R.U. President Namulau’ulu is not aware of the Board’s decision as he does not sit in the Board meetings. 

“He only sits in the annual general meetings, unless he wants to attend the S.R.U. Board meetings if he wants, but I am the Chairman who is present. I am just tired of debating these issues and the end result I pay the price,” he added.

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