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APIA – The Manu Samoa is unlikely to have a local take over as head coach, if the independent panel assessing candidates for the job has its say.

The panel is chaired by Graham Mourie, a renowned former All Black Captain, who is representing World Rugby. Brian Hopley, from the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) is another panellist along with Alex Abraham, from Bluesky who, represents the sponsors and stakeholders of the SRU.

The panel, which was appointed at the end of November, has met via teleconference and shortlisted three candidates.

Hopley confirmed that there are no local aspirants on that shortlist.

He would not be drawn on where the shortlisted candidates have come from.

Last month, the Samoa Observer reported applications for the head coach job with the Manu Samoa had closed, with 18 people putting their names forward. Of that 18, four were locals.

The remainder came from all over the world, from areas including Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Samoa Rugby Union chief executive officer, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, said he expected the panel would be very busy over the next few weeks, as the SRU wants a nominee for the head coach job before the year is up. Only three weeks remain of 2015.

“The plan is still there, to make an announcement before the end of the year,” Faleomavaega said.

He said the board was likely to accept the recommendation for the job made by the independent panel, once they had chosen their ideal candidate.

- Samoa Observer