S.R.U to ponder new direction post-Rugby World Cup

The end of a Rugby World Cup cycle almost always brings change, and Japan 2019 will be no exception for the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) and Manu Samoa.

The Union are advertising for a Chief Executive Officer, General Manager of High Performance, and Manu Samoa Head Coach, with applications for all positions closing over the coming weeks.

The General Manager position, which is based around overseeing all the national representative rugby sides (Manu Samoa, Samoa A, Manu Samoa 7s, Manusina 7s, Manusina, Samoa U20) and recruiting uncaptured eligible talent to play for them, has been unfilled since the abrupt resignation of Zane Hilton in January.

Instead of hiring someone earlier this year, the S.R.U. elected to see the rest of the World Cup cycle out without a General Manager, given the limited time they would have had to leave a mark on the campaign.

Ideally the new G.M. will be in place before the appointment of a Manu Samoa head coach, so they can be involved in selecting the candidate they want to work with.

Incumbent coach, Vaeluaga Steve Jackson, will likely be among those applying for the role after his current contract expires next month.

The Kiwi has indicated a desire to continue the work he and his staff have done over the last year or so in getting the Manu ready for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, a campaign in which they had some bright moments but underperformed on the whole relative to fellow island nations Fiji and Tonga.

Assistant coach, Tuifaasisina Alistair Rogers, who also worked with Vaeluaga at the Blues in Super Rugby, said there will be discussions over the next few weeks and they’ll just have to wait and see.

"We will just see which way the Samoa Rugby Union would want to go and have a discussion around what the succession plans look like and what the next four years look like,” he said.

Appointing a Manu Head Coach and General Manager of High Performance might be two of S.R.U. Chief Executive Officer Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i’s last acts in his role, with his contract expiring on December 19th.

The C.E.O. said he is yet to decide whether to reapply for the job.

There is potential for a reshuffle at Board level as well, with S.R.U. President Namulauulu Sami Leota and other office holders up for re-election at the Union’s AGM on the 21st of November.

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