CIRU tackled over qualifier loss

Thursday August 10, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor

Disappointed” is something of an understatement in describing how I felt when our boys went down 13-9 to Tahiti in a Rugby World Cup qualifier last Friday.


“Shambolic” would be the right phrase to describe the game. The CIRU has to carry out a post-mortem of the whole situation leading up to the match. It’s a situation which basically started some years ago. So who is accountable for this terrible result?

It’s unfair to point the finger solely at the president, or the coach, or the manager or the players or even the club officials, so who gets the blame? My view is that everyone is accountable!

By everyone, I mean the whole rugby establishment, starting from the top hierarchy and reaching all the way down to the bottom. This letter by no means attacks a single person or persons, but rather it is aimed at finding out how we arrived at this historical defeat and how best we can better plan for the future, so that we never ever repeat this farcical situation again.

Our heavy loss to Fiji in 2015 was different, as Fiji is a top tier Pacific champion and we were always looking down the barrel of a defeat, Recently Fiji toppled Samoa and Tonga to take first place as Pacific champions for the RWC qualifier.

So what went wrong? Here is my personal assessment, Firstly, we lacked a viable commercial strategic business plan to fundraise over the years leading up to this match. Certainly, the CIRU officials knew years ago of the RWC play-offs.

Because of this failure, we selected only our best boys from Rarotonga, and not our best players from throughout the world. Tahiti on the other hand, managed one way or another, to get eight players based in France.

From my experience as a former national manager, if we really want to win, then we must get the best for the country from around the world. It’s as simple as that, and that’s why rugby league is successful and operating well, which is a vast difference from the situation our rugby brothers are in.

We lost because we didn’t do our homework and lacked sufficient planning to gather willing country and corporate sponsors as well as financial support from national government,

I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word my mate General George used to describe our players in Tuesday’s CINews, because it’s not solely their fault. This defeat hurts all former rugby reps, senior reps, masters reps, coaches, managers, families…you name it.

I feel for our coach Wally, the management and all the players. You see it’s not partly their fault, as the coach and manager have to report to the board, the very people who selected and appointed them. And this is where the “buck stops.”

In my view, there has to be new blood and a totally new structure for the CIRU going forward. How we do this depends on the respective club officials who will push for the necessary organisational changes at an extraordinary special general meeting.

Reforms can be very difficult and at times hurtful, but once accepted, they can transform and bring about new changes for the best, for everyone. Rugby was our national sport in the early days but is it still now?

My message to the CIRU is to accept defeat, accept responsibility and take the bold steps now to implement change. You will be respected if you do, but shunned if you don’t.

There are willing corporate sponsors, companies and individuals willing to assist, but it could be at a cost.

            Paul Raui Allsworth


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