Manu Samoa coach unhappy with World Rugby interference

Samoa coach Titimaea Tafua during the 2011 World Cup. Picture: PHOTOSPORT

APIA, 06 SEPTEMBER 2018 (TVNZ/RNZ PACIFIC) – Manu Samoa rugby coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua says he is still the right man for the job and doesn’t believe World Rugby should interfere.

The former Manu Samoa player and captain was appointed to a second stint in charge of the team a year ago against the wishes of the governing body, who refused to pay his salary.

But after just two wins from seven tests, the Samoa Rugby Union made the decision to readvertise the position, despite Fuimaono’s contract running through to the 2019 World Cup.

Fuimaono said he achieved the goal of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Japan and didn’t understand why he was now being pushed towards the exit.

“They say that the job’s being readvertised, it’s because of World Rugby’s process but before I start this campaign I signed a contract for two years up until the World Cup,” he said.

“But I don’t know what this means, what happens but in case that they give me a chance to reapply to the job.

“I don’t think that’s a fair process because World Rugby will interfere with what we are trying [to do]. My first priority was I was trying to qualify [for the World Cup] first so now it’s qualified so I don’t know what else World Rugby/IRB wants and now we are qualified.

“I tell you whoever is coaching our Manu Samoa, regardless of skills and knowledge, but if he does not gel well with the players it will be a worthless exercise.”

Samoa failed to win a game during their end of year tour and were also beaten by local rivals Fiji and Tonga in June’s Pacific Nations Cup.

The Manu’s only recent success came in home and away victories against European minnows Germany that secured qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

But Fuimaono said injuries and player availability had affected the team and if reappointed he was confident things would be much better going forward.

“I’m not sure where they based this decision but I was trying the best I can do in putting together a team,” he said.

“It’s not an easy job and, as you know, it’s less than a year before the World Cup so we need to stick on especially our players.

“If I got the job then it would be a big change towards the results …because I’ve been involved for many years: I was a player, I was a captain of the side so I know exactly what I am talking about.”

The Samoa Rugby Union hopes to appoint a coach by the end of the month.

Fuimaono is welcome to reapply for his job and said he will make a decision by the end of the week.

“The job is being readvertised and results speaks for itself but I tell you that whatever is happening we will wait until the end of this week …at the moment I’m not finalising, I’m still thinking of it,” he said.

“Our Union paid me. World Rugby didn’t pay me so whatever happens they said to go back to the process and if, as a result of the interview, it comes back to me they are going to pay me, that’s what they offered.”

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