Super 9 ready for kick-off
The PPS Super 9 is all ready to kick off this Saturday, despite some administrative issues that lingered into the final week before the season.
Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i said a couple of the franchises have had some internal issues that have now been sorted out.
"We’ve done quite a lot of work around the last week or so, trying to catch up with all the documentation from all the franchises."
Faleomavaega said the main thing was player registration.
“Unfortunately we have issues of players being double-registered.
“Some unions have a short spell of games, some it takes them a lot longer [to get through their club season].
“So quite a few players are moving around the country because they want to play rugby."
Faleomavaega said the S.R.U. is looking at ways of keeping players where they originally start playing.
“Those are issues we discuss collectively with all the sub-unions together."
He said the vision for the tournament is to have the best players on the island playing in the competition, necessitates discussion for how to spread those players out among the franchises.
“Currently, the majority of players are in the vicinity of Apia.
“People move into town for school, social issues that come into play, economic reasons why they congregate in Apia.
“But when the rugby season starts they like to go back to their original villages where they come from.
“It all comes down to the player, where they want to represent."
The Samoa Rugby Union is not looking to make money from the competition, and Faleomavaega said they putting on a credible tournament as an investment in local players.
“When the tournament continues successfully, more local players in the Manu Samoa team, that’s the ultimate goal of the Union.
“This is a game changer for us, we want to really invest in our own local competitions."
He said the domestic game is something they can directly control as a Union, unlike the state of the game overseas.
But he noted S.R.U. cannot do it on their own.
“We could not have done this without the support of the sponsors."
Faloeomavaega also gave thanks to the sponsors that work directly with the individual franchises.
“We now have a product, the franchises can go and sell it to local businesses or even overseas entities to assist them."
He said the Union underwrites everything currently, but the ultimate goal is to have self-sustaining franchises.
Round 1 Kick-off times (main games televised live on TV1):