Samoan rugby goes to the farm

They say desperate times call for desperate measures.

As the man driving the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) and looking to lift its dwindling fortunes, you can’t blame Chairman and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi for not trying hard enough. He certainly is.

As if he doesn’t already have enough on his mind as the leader of the country, Samoa’s international rugby results – or the lack of – are weighing on his mind. Just look at the story titled “Samoa looks at breeding farms for better rugby results” published on the front page yesterday.

As bizarre as it might sound but when things aren’t working out, as they should be, one has to think outside the box.

Speaking during the launch of the Vailima Marist Sevens tournament last Friday, Tuilaepa revealed that the idea of a “breeding programme” had been mooted in Parliament to get “taller” and “muscular” players who will hopefully lift Samoa’s performance.

Mention the term breeding programme and you immediately conjure up images of animals, plants and all those things. Those listening only in passing could be forgiven for thinking that animal husbandry was going to become part of the national rugby team's new strategy.

But Tuilaepa is not talking about any of those. Nada. He’s actually talking about breeding humans. And he was serious.

“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.

 “So we discussed this in Parliament. 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.”

Loau by the way is a former Manu Samoa player and the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio. He was part of that history making Manu Samoa team in 1991.

Getting back to the idea of a “breeding programme,” the Prime Minister said the programme it will use “tall and short people with the aim that they will give birth to “some tall people.”

So how was this received in Parliament?

 “This was well supported by Parliament,” Tuilaepa said. “The problem I see is that most of the people in the programme will end up in prison because of their uncontrollable lust.”

The truth is that Samoan rugby’s performance on the international stage has been quite disappointing – to put it quite mildly. In some cases, they have been pathetic.

While Manu Samoa’s form at last year’s Rugby World Cup was well below par, the Sevens team is not faring any better. The way they were humiliated at the Hamilton Sevens when they were beaten 40-0 by Argentina on Saturday tells a story.

What these players and coaches don’t understand is that while they continue their losing streak, back in Samoa, poor old Tuilaepa, who is the Chairman of the Union, is always trying to come up with all sorts of excuses to appease a fan club who are quite tired of these abysmal results.

He’s done well so far but by unveiling such an original strategy one wonders what ideas Tuilaepa could possibly have left.

On this occasion, the man driving Samoan rugby, Chairman Tuilaepa was definitely thinking way, way outside the box. And even if he sounded ridiculously outrageous, you can’t blame him for not trying, right?

Have a wonderful Tuesday Samoa, God bless!


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