Manu Samoa legend aims high with new role

Manu Samoa legend and World Rugby Hall of Famer, Muliagatele Brian Lima, has his work cut out.

As the new coach of the Manu Samoa Sevens, the Chiropractor as he is famously known in world rugby circles has welcomed the opportunity to improve Samoa's rank on World Rugby's Sevens Series which at the moment is 13th.

With a two-year contract formally announced on Wednesday, the Manu Samoa Sevens Coach understands that his new role is not going to be a walk in the park. 

Muliagatele succeeds former Sevens coach, Sir Gordon Tiejtens, who resigned at the beginning of the year. Despite his best efforts, Samoa has not won a Sevens tournament on the H.S.B.C. Series since 2016 when the team hoisted the Paris Sevens trophy under the guidance of another former Coach, Damian McGrath.

Ironically Muliagatele was also involved in that team.

Fast forward to now, Muliagatele admitted that there "is a lot of work that needs to be done."

"We have a lot to prepare for and there is a lot of work that needs to be done going forward," he said. 

The 48-year-old from Letogo vowed that he will do his best to "revive" the Manu Samoa Sevens and bring the team back to the top. 

Asked for his plans as the new Head Coach, Muliaga said he has a short-term plan and a long-term plan. 

"The long term plan is, by the end of my contract, our Manu Samoa Sevens team will be back on the top," he said. 

This, according to Muliaga can be achieved if they chose "good and consistent players."

"It all comes down to the selection of our team and developing depth; we need good players that are consistent.  

"There is a lot of talent in Samoa. 

"We will try and identify and bring them in so we can look at there skills and see if there are gaps that we need to work on, so their skills are complete and they will become well-known players."

World Rugby Hall of Famer, believes that his appointment as the new Head Coach is timely. 

There is a National Sevens Tournament that started last week in Savai'i and will continue on for this week with the finale next week. 

He believes the tournament offers him the opportunity to "observe" and "explore" some key players that will be selected from the various teams all around Samoa to feed our national sevens team. 

"We will be looking at the consistent players who performed well last week and continue to do so for this week and next week. 

"We will then select a squad, and will develop (their skills) and look if there are gaps that needs improvement.

"It's good that there is rugby competition (internationally) happening anytime soon, so we will make good use of this opportunity to develop our players that we will select from the tournament that we have right now. 

"We will also look at all the areas that needs improvements, so that whenever the World Rugby will front a competition, our players will be well-prepared for it."

Nevertheless, Muliagatele said another key area that will contribute to the success of the Manu Samoa Sevens team is having a "good management."

"We do need a good management that works together and in unity."

Lastly, Muliagatele said he is looking forward to serve Samoa through his new role and contribute to the development of the sport he is passionate about. 

"I am happy," he told the Samoa Observer. "I express my sincere gratitude to the Chairman and Board of Directors of the Samoa Rugby Union for the opportunity given to me to continue my service to the country and to help with the development of Rugby in Samoa."

Muliagatele Brian Lima is the youngest son of the late Tuliaupupu Pala Lima and Talaetau Lima. 

He is 48-years-old and a father of three boys. 

He is from the villages of Letofo, Afega, Falelatai and Avao in Savaii. He holds the matai titles Muliagatele and Anae. 

He debuted for Samoa in the year 1990 and was the first player in the world to have played five Rugby World Cups. 

His coaching experience started after his retirement as a player in 2007. He was chosen as an Assistant Coach for Manu Samoa Sevens while Damien McGrath was the Head Coach.  He was also the Head Coach of the Samoa A and was behind the inception of the Manuma team.

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