P.M. advised to look at “breeding farms” for better rugby results
The Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.), Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has been urged to begin a “breeding programme” with the aim of getting “taller” and “muscular” players to improve the prospects of Samoan rugby.
Speaking at the launch of the Vailima Marist Sevens tournament, Tuilaepa said the idea was suggested by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio, in Parliament.
“What we are certain of is that our players today are getting shorter,” Tuilaepa said. “It’s hard to find some tall boys like the [Manu Samoa] team of 1991, those boys were so tall they nearly reached heaven and they were very muscular.”
Given the dwindling fortunes of Samoan rugby, with the latest development seeing the Manu Samoa Sevens bomb out of the Hamilton Sevens yesterday, there is an urgent need for a solution.
“So we discussed this in Parliament,” Tuilaepa said. “We’ve found that our boys are shorter and don’t have a lot of muscles, and because of that, their hearts are also shorter and weak.
“In Parliament’s attempt to find a solution, Loau said that it’s time we introduce breeding farms.”
The Prime Minister said the breeding programme will use “tall and short people with the aim that they will give birth to “some tall people.”
“And this was well supported by Parliament,” he said. “The problem I see is that most of the people in the programme will end up in prison because of their uncontrollable lust.”
Tuiaepa admitted that Samoa’s international rugby results have not been good.
“And that is also reflected here at Marist. Back in those days, Marist dominated, they were champions tournament after tournament. What has happened now? At the end of the tournaments, we don’t know where Marist is heading. So that’s the challenge.”
The Manu Samoa 15s performance at the recent World Cup in Japan – especially their woeful disciplinary record - was also not lost on the Chairman.
“Samoa had the worst record in terms of red and yellow cards,” Tuilaepa said. “Our team was despised by the world, there were people who ridiculed us, asking what has become of the Manu Samoa.”
With Samoa becoming a member of the World Rugby Council, Tuilaepa said the game is moving more towards player welfare and safety.
He encouraged coaches, referees and local clubs to emphasise the importance of proper tackling techniques.
“They need to tackle from chest down, anything else now is a card. The world is heading towards a more disciplined game. Any time a player is red carded, a loss is already on the cards for any team. Refrain from playing rough and being undisciplined.”
This is when he talked about the Manu Samoa Sevens performance. Referring to the Oceania Sevens, Samoa needed to beat Australia to qualify for the Olympics.
“We were two tries ahead until poor discipline saw two players sent to the bin and now we are paying the price,” he said about the long road Samoa has to take to qualify.
He also pointed to the World Cup final between South Africa and England to highlight his point about discipline. He said everyone thought that England was going to win but all South Africa needed was to keep their discipline, which they did, and victory was theirs.
Lastly, Tuilaepa challenged the Samoan rugby fraternity to think about nurturing and developing good goal kickers.
“We’ve been playing rugby for a hundred years and still no coach has thought about nurturing a good kicker yet?
“Has no local coach thought of doing that? I’m talking to coaches, please select some boys and train them to kick. Even if all they do is kick, when they wake up they kick the ball and keep doing that until the sun goes down.”