Administration a challenge on the eve of Super 9
Despite administrative struggles with some of the franchises, the Samoa Rugby Union remains very excited about the launch of the PPS Super 9 season for 2019.
The official tournament launch was on Friday night, with the first round of games to kick off next Saturday.
Samoa Rugby Union events and competitions coordinator Seiuli Salesa Seiuli said they are pretty much ready for round one.
“We’re still having issues with teams getting their player registrations done, getting their final lists done."
He said the franchises have been given an ultimatum: all the administrative requirements must be met by Wednesday at their next tournament meeting.
“We can’t run a tournament with some management not meeting tournament requirements."
He said some of the teams had met those already, while others are lagging behind.
“This is the main reason why Super 9 was created; we needed to up our game.
“There’s always been outcry that the game hasn’t been properly run domestically.
“The [Samoa Rugby] Union has responded, now we just need everyone to step up their game.”
Seiuli said it creates a burden for the short-staffed Union, who have to process all the documentation just a few days before the tournament, when it could have been done a month or so ago.
He said despite the difficulties, he is still excited about the tournament.
“Last year we unearthed some new players, players that you didn’t hear of then all of a sudden they get picked in the national teams.”
Seiuli gave the example of Johnny Samuelu, who was playing under the radar in Savai’i before getting exposure through the Warriors Super 9 franchise.
Samuelu is now an entrenched member of the Manu Samoa Sevens squad, and has played at every tournament on the World Rugby Sevens Series this year.
“It gives some belief to kids that are in Savai’i or rural Upolu; you don’t need to come to Apia to be known,” Seiuli said.
“All you need to do is work hard, train hard, perform during the games and you’ll get picked.”
He said getting into a national team can lead to opportunities overseas, and life-changing professional contracts for players and their families.