Mase plans ahead

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 14 April 2024, 2:00PM

It is what it is, according to the newly appointed Manu Samoa Head Coach, Mase Mahonri Schwalger, who says he is disappointed with his predecessor's role ending abruptly but looks forward to take Manu Samoa in a new direction.

Mase said he was excited about his role ahead of Manu Samoa's first test matches in July and the Pacific Nations Cup in August.

Despite the controversy over Vaovasamanaia's Seilala Mapusua's abrupt leave, Mase said he was disappointed his contract ended earlier than it should have but praised Vaovasamanaia's efforts over the last years.

"He's done a great job, he put in a lot of structures and a lot of good things for our team moving forward. So, at the moment, I'm just going to continue that," said Mase.  

"He's always welcome to come back and help out. He used to represent the Manu, and every Manu Samoa player has the right to join this team," added Mase. 

Mase reflected on the impact of the Vaovasamanai plant on the team's jersey over the past few years, specifically on the coaching staff and the mindset instilled in the players. He acknowledged that his legacy will continue to live on and that the players will miss him.

"I love the guy. He's done so much for this country and he's done so much for this jersey. So I wish him all the best," said Mase. 

Meanwhile, his role as head coach has already been underway, with new players being recruited ahead of the Pacific Nations Cup. 

He added that the current selection for the Manu is worldwide, but more so in the Northern Hemisphere.

 "The majority, most of these guys will be around this side of the world, the Northern Hemisphere. And the reason why is because their season's still going," said Mase. 

He also addressed questions surrounding local players and their involvement in the Manu Samoa squad. 

"Everyone's local. If you're Samoan, you're Samoan, you have the right to wear this jersey,"

Mase noted that the new squad who will be selected have been playing rugby nonstop since the World Cup. He emphasised the importance of managing their plays ahead of other competitions. 

As test matches for the Manu Samoa approach in July, Mase is busy planning and getting things organised. He is currently sampling potential team members, and many individuals have expressed interest and are vying for a spot. 

"At the moment, I'm sort of taking every day by day, trying to focus on things that I can control," said Mase

"My goal in the next couple of months is to make sure that these guys are coming in with the right attitude, especially fitness-wise, and ready to put everything into wearing this Manu Samoa jersey again," added Mase.  

He said that there will be a squad chosen within the next few months to represent Samoa in the July tests.

In terms of management and structure, according to Mase, it could be a different management than that of Vaovasamanaia's from the World Cup 2023. 

"At the moment, I'm working on it, it's a different year. Now it's all about recruiting and trying to build another group in terms of our players and our management towards the 2027 World Cup," said Mase. 

By Sulamanaia Manaui Faulalo 14 April 2024, 2:00PM
Samoa Observer

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