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New Manu Samoa coach wants to develop local talent

The man entrusted with the job of building the Manu Samoa 15s and new coach, Mapusua Seilala Mapusua, says his goal apart from winning games, is to develop local players into world class internationals.

Mapusua was given the nod by the Samoa Rugby Union from 22 applicants who threw their names in the hat to fill the vacancy left by former Manu Samoa coach, Vaeluaga Steve Jackson. 

In accepting his appointment, the 40-year-old said he is "humbled" to have achieved his "long-life dream."

Mapusua spoke from New Zealand through video chat during a press conference at the Samoa Rugby Union on Wednesday.

"It’s very humbling," Mapusua told the Samoa Observer. 

"I’m honored and humbled to be given this role and the hope and faith of the Board and SRU to be at the helm and coach the Manu Samoa team. 

"It’s (been) a lifelong dream of mine and I am just very happy to be a member of the Manu Samoa Rugby Union and it's a labor of love for me and that's what drive me."

He expressed his gratitude to the Board and Management of the Samoa Rugby Union for putting their trust in him to lead Samoa's national team. 

"I am grateful to the Board for the appointment and I look forward to working and growing with our people and serve the country. 

"I am also looking forward to the challenges ahead."

As a new coach, Mapusua said his main focus will be on developing local players to become "world class players."

"As a Coach I want to develop and grow our players at grassroots level in Samoa firstly and build them up so our players can really perform at the international stage and that’s a long term plan. 

"My short term plan is to promote Samoa as high up as possible and keep growing locally as well. But I think firstly, it's important that my focus is to grow our local players and develop world class players in Samoa that's where the heart of our team will come from 

"And also I intend build an create an environment where we will attract, develop and maintain our talents, both locally and internationally and I think that will be key to have a competitive team. 

"So in terms of focus, my focus will be on our local talents and we will work from there. Obviously Covid has presented some new opportunities; and I think this is a great opportunity to develop our players. 

"In terms of rugby itself, I think my focus is heavily on our set-piece, that is the source of our ball. 

"For me, I will be focusing on developing world class players in all aspects of the game, to the skillset, conditioning and all those skills that's needed to be competitive in the international level 

"The main focus is developing our players and making sure that our players are at a world class standard."

Lastly, Mapusua said he is hopeful that by the end of his contract, the Samoa national team will get back to "where it should be."

"I wouldn't say that I am confident," he told the Samoa Observer. 

"But I do believe that if we focus on the processes and look at developing and growing our players, both internationally and locally, the results will take care of itself. 

"I believe that growing the capacity and the skills of our players will get back our team right where it should be."

The former Manu Samoa international player is looking forward to start his role as the new coach and is hoping to get on the next flight from New Zealand to Samoa so he can start. 

Mapusua Seilala Mapusua is 40-years-old from the villages of Gataivai and Moata'a. 

He is married with three children. 

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