S.R.U. come out better off after tumultuous year

The Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U) CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai said this year has been a very challenging one, with a lot of ups and downs.

“But basically, I think the Union is in a better position than it was a year ago.”

Notable events this year include the sacking of former Manu Samoa coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, the return of Manu Sina to the international stage, and S.R.U being awarded a seat on the World Rugby Council.

“That’s probably the biggest success for the Union,” Faleomavaega said.

“We’ve worked particularly hard over the last four years to meet the criteria, a lot of reform around governance issues and so forth.”

He said gender balance on the board is one of the things they addressed.

Fiji were also awarded a council seat, and Tonga are hopeful of getting one soon.

“Samoa, Tonga and Fiji make a huge contribution to the world game, our players are across the world,” said Faleomavaega.

“It shows our measure as small island countries, what we contribute to the game.”

He said that’s why it’s important to finally have a voice on the council.

“There are issues that affect financially-struggling unions like us.”

Faleomavaega said Pacific nations don’t have the population or capacity to host many games.

“And when we go across to Europe, we tend to just be part of the entertainment.

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“We don’t get any of the gate-sharing, so that’s the sort of thing we need help from the bigger, richer unions.

“We’re not asking for the world, just something to keep us going.”

S.R.U needs about $11 million tala to run their programmes every year.

“The Government and local entities fund about 60% of that, and World Rugby the remaining 40%,” said Faleomavaega.

“As a Union, we couldn’t survive without the support of the Government.

“There are very few companies who are able to support with the kind of money needed to run an entity like Samoa Rugby Union.

“Other sports too are also going to the same entities.”

He said the Sevens programme couldn’t run without the support of SIFA and Bluesky.

“Now we are able to have contracted players, so it’s a full-time job for them.

“It’s quite an undertaking, but we’re hoping the investment will bring results.

After the first two rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series, Samoa are 10th having been unlucky to miss the Cup quarterfinals twice in a row.

“That’s how competitive it is, and for our population we do quite well.

“But we haven’t met the expectations of the country, living up to past results.”

Faleomavaega said they want more across all the programmes.

“We’re trying to improve on the field and get results – our people desperately want our teams to do well on the international stage.”

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