A new beginning for Samoan rugby

24 February 2016, 12:00AM

Samoa has a new representative on Oceania Rugby (F.O.R.U).

He is lawyer Matafeo George Latu, who replaces Lefau Harry Schuster.

The decision was made during a Samoa Rugby Union Board meeting last Friday, and formally notified Oceania Rugby of the decision late yesterday.

Prime Minister and Samoa Rugby Union Chairman, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, welcomed the appointment as the continuation of a new era for Samoa Rugby.

“Samoa Rugby has been going through a necessary period of change across all levels of the organisation – and this has included making some brave, but exciting changes,” he said.

“Over the past 12 months, we have appointed a new Chief Executive who has spearheaded many of the changes we need to ensure Samoa Rugby is strong on and off the field, but most importantly, is transparent and has integrity, so that the people of Samoa can have faith in the work that is being done for the good of Samoa rugby.

“We have made several appointments in the High Performance area in the past year that we are confident are giving shape to an environment where can develop great players locally, while giving our professional Samoan players around the world, confidence in what the Union can offer them.

“We have had some new blood injected at the Board level and now we are putting forward new faces to lead our representation at the highest level – at World Rugby’s Oceania Rugby body.

“Matafeo who is currently Secretary of the Samoa Rugby Union, is highly regarded both as a double international having played for Samoa and Tonga, and as a respected law practitioner and a former Judicial Officer for the IRB.

“I congratulate him on his appointment and know he will make a wonderful contribution as he represents Samoa Rugby’s interests at the highest level. 

“We believe he will support decisions that are in the best interests of Samoa, and Samoa Rugby, and for that reason we have nominated Matafeo for the role of President of Oceania Rugby when it goes to vote this year.

“I also wish to thank outgoing F.O.R.U President and our former representative Lefau Harry Schuster for his commitment and dedication to the role. 

“Lefau has been at the helm of what has been a challenging time for Samoa Rugby and we thank him for his leadership and contribution during that time.”

Oceania Rugby will hold its Annual General Meeting in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, on 19 and 20 April 2016.

Matafeo George Latu, aged 51, is a dual international who played 12 Tests for Samoa, including at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and six Test matches for Tonga.

The Canterbury University law graduate is a former IRB Judicial Officer and partner of Latu Lawyers, who has also played for Canterbury’s provincial rugby team in New Zealand. 

He has been involved in Samoa club rugby at Vaimoso and was the Apia West provincial team manager.

Matafeo is also a Deacon of the Apia Harvest Church.

24 February 2016, 12:00AM

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