Manu Samoa Coach focused on local talent
Manu Samoa's head coach, Mapusua Seilala Mapusua, is slowly settling into his role and is optimistic about the future of Samoan rugby.
He is equally positive about the development of local rugby, commending the initiative behind the Lakapi Championship as a platform to develop local talent, preparing them for the next level.
After arriving in the country two weeks ago, Mapusua has been busy touching base with local rugby officials and working with the Samoa-based elite players with an eye on elevating them to national honours.
"I've been really impressed," he told the Samoa Observer.
"I've really enjoyed the step-up from players from week 1 to week 2 of the Lakapi Championship."
The Lakapi Championships features teams from Savaii, Upolu, Apolima and Manono. There is also a women's competition.
"I've been following the progress of their training," he said about the teams, adding that he's also noticed an improvement in set piece work.
"I think there's a massive improvement on that, not just one thing but all the changes really. The core roles of the set-piece is important," he said.
As for COVID19 and what this means for the Manu Samoa, Mapusua said he and the Samoa Rugby Union are communicating with World Rugby on what is best and when that is possible.
"Obviously with the COVID-19, we are working with World Rugby in securing some games for the Manu," he said.
"We have a match against Tonga in July to see who will qualify for the World Cup."
But Mapusua said the uncertainty brought by COVID-19 means he can only focus on what is doable. That means his attention is fully set on local players and how he could help them advance their careers and ambitions.
Mapusua also commended the set up of the management teams for the Lakapi Championships.
"I've been impressed with the management and their work. I've really enjoyed working with the coaches, and being a part of the Lakapi Championship. Like I said this is a big step up for rugby in Samoa."
Mapusua said it's early days yet but he is looking forward to working with the Samoa Rugby Union in the development of local talents and improving rugby.
Mapusua has taken over from former Manu Samoa coach, Vaeluaga Steve Jackson.
The new coach has yet to announce his management team.