Samoa Rugby Union chief defends sacking

The Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U), Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i has defended the Union’s decision to sack Sevens coach, Damian McGrath.

Speaking on the Tala o Ta’aloga programme, Faleomavaega said the decision to let go of McGrath and his management followed a review undertaken by an independent panel.

The outcome of the review based on the team’s performance was a major factor when the Board of the Samoa Rugby Union – chaired by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi – made the decision.

Faleomavaega was responding to questions about the Union’s track record of sacking Sevens coaches after dismal performances.  

Englishman McGrath has become the latest victim. Despite coaching Samoa to the Paris Sevens title, his team’s failure to make the Rio Olympics was a major let down.

Contacted for a comment last week, McGrath told the Samoa Observer he has engaged the services of a lawyer to represent him. He declined to elaborate.

“Unfortunately this is now in the hands of a lawyer and I have been advised to make no comment,” he told the Samoa Observer.

He only acknowledged the support from members of the public during his tenure.

“I really appreciate the support I've received from the people of Samoa and I look forward to being able to comment in due course.”

During the interview with Tala o Ta’aloga, Faleomavaega said the decision was strictly based on results. He explained that for every coach, there is a process to follow at the end of every season. That process involves a review that considers results.

The same process was applied to McGrath.

Asked if the Union has not learnt anything from over the years where they have sacked many Sevens coaches, Faleomavaega said results matter and that’s what decisions are based upon.

He added the review also recommended for the Union to do away with the Assistant coach role, which had been occupied by Muliagatele Brian Lima.

That means none of McGrath’s management team has been kept but they are all free to reapply.

Faleomavaega said the applications close at the end of the week and a new coach should be known by the end of the month.

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By Hyunsook Siutaia 30/09/2020
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