Vaeluaga decision on Southern Kings role imminent

Manu Samoa head coach Vaeluagaomatagi Steve Jackson says he hopes to make a decision on whether to accept a role at the Southern Kings club in South Africa within the next few days.

The coach confirmed that he recently fielded an informal offer to be the head coach of the Kings but said he did not apply for the job and was first notified of their interest in his services a few weeks ago. 

Vaeluaga's contract with the national team expires at the conclusion of their Rugby World Cup campaign. 

But he said that while negotiations with the South African team are ongoing, the issue will not be a distraction for Samoa's Pacific Nations and World Cup campaigns:

“My sole focus is on what we’re doing here with the team.

“I know I’ve got a job to do at Rugby World Cup, and my heart and soul is with Samoa.

“In saying that, Rugby World Cup will come and go pretty quick… I need to sort of think about my future as well, for my family.”

He said he spoke to the Manu Samoa Pacific Nations Cup squad about the job offers on Thursday morning and that the team would not be distracted by his future. 

“They’re good, they know that I’m 100 per cent in behind what we’re doing here, and that’s first and foremost.

“Everything else will take care of itself.”

Vaeluaga said he notified the Samoa Rugby Union about the potential new job six weeks ago in the interest of transparency:

“It was pretty important for myself just to let my employers know.”

He said he would love to stay with Samoa if possible, although understands results will be the determining factor.

“I think we’ve started something, and I’d like to continue that on, but that part of things is out of my control.”

“Hopefully I’m still here in the Manu jersey, and I’m still coaching them for many years to come.”

Vaeluaga ruled out the prospect of taking on the Southern Kings and Manu Samoa coaching roles simultaneously, saying he wouldn’t be able to do justice to both jobs. 

He said there has been a lot of work done behind the scenes to get the Manu ready for the P.N.C. and World Cup, and he has had every bit of support from S.R.U.

“I’m just thankful at the moment to be in the position I am, and what will be will be.”

The Southern Kings are based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and play in the Pro14 competition along with one other South African club, four from Ireland, two from Italy, two from Scotland and four from Wales.

Their season commences on the 29th of September (Samoan time) with a game against Cardiff, the club of Manu Samoa centre Rey Lee-Lo.

But Lee-Lo and Vaeluaga are then scheduled to be in Japan preparing for Samoa’s second World Cup match against Scotland on October 1st.

Meanwhile, the Manu have their second game of the Pacific Nations Cup against U.S.A. in Suva, Fiji at 3.30 pm this Saturday.

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