Time to demand better results from pathetic Manu Sevens

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 15 April 2018, 12:00AM

It was bad in Hong Kong yet the faithful Samoan rugby supporters held their tongues and remained hopeful that somehow it might change. 

But when Samoa went down 33-0 against England, after capitulating in their first game against Australia, 27-7, at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games two days ago, we cannot continue to be silent anymore.

After all, the Commonwealth Games was one of the targets for this Manu Samoa Sevens and we were really hoping to see an improvement. What we saw instead was a disaster, it is a crisis.

And let’s not bring the fact that we beat Jamaica into the equation. Those dudes don’t play rugby, they are track and field athletes.  

The truth is we’ve been silent for some time now, all the while praying and hoping that somehow our fortunes on the Sevens stage would change. 

Sadly, they haven’t. 

And if anything, the Manu Samoa Sevens is continuing on a downward spiral that we just cannot see the end. 

If the coaching staff isn’t panicking yet, we think they should.

Here is the truth. If this were a team coached by any ordinary local coach, the Samoa Rugby Union would have sacked him already. 

The public would have come out calling for blood and we would soon have a new coach, as is per proud tradition of the Samoa Rugby Union.

Now don’t get us wrong. This is not to say that we are calling for the head of Sir Gordon Tietjens as the coach yet. 

But what needs to happen is that these results must change and change for the better. Otherwise, Tietjens should start looking at the exit door too. We could probably accept these results if the team was coached by a third grade coach being paid the minimum wage. But that is not the case.

Besides, the woeful performances by the Manu Samoa Sevens on the international front continues to be a major embarrassment for the many proud Manu Samoa supporters on these shores and all over the world.

It cannot be allowed to continue.

With the Hong Kong Sevens and the Commonwealth Games out of the way, we really have to hope Tietjens has got a surprise tucked away somewhere in his sleeves for the next two tournaments.

We say this because we just cannot be confident anymore whether this team can win. We have not seen anything to be mighty optimistic about from the Manu Samoa Sevens. It’s fair to say that the team’s outings lately have been patchy. There doesn’t seem to be any fluency or fluidity and that must be a real concern. 

In some cases, it comes down to the very basic, like tackling. The team’s defensive patterns are hard to watch. It’s almost like they cannot tackle. What happened there? Was this not one part of Samoan rugby that we were once so proud of?

The question of course has to be asked whether the systems being put in place are working. Tietjens methods might have worked wonders for New Zealand where the systems were in place, but in Samoa, they are proving to be a disaster at this stage.

As they say, lets hope there is a method in thy madness. 

This by the way is not to discount the hard work that has been put in by the Tietjens, the players and the management for the past couple of years. We understand that one of the goals is to build depth.

That’s fine. But it would be nice too if they start winning some games.

So what is the problem? Where exactly are they going wrong? And can it be fixed? Or is it time for the Samoa Rugby Union to do what they do best and find an exit strategy for Tietjens and bring in the next coach?

Whatever they do, they need to do it quickly because we cannot have the reputation of this once proud rugby nation continuously soiled by these pathetic performances. What do you think?

Have a great week Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 15 April 2018, 12:00AM

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