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Tuesday 17 February 2015 | Published in Regional


APIA – The new chief executive officer of the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU), Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea’i, has apologised to the country for the incidents that have caused much heartache to a nation that holds the sport of rugby in high regard.

He also promised to develop better communications between the union and the players, stakeholders, the public and the media.

“I apologise on behalf of our group here but I also ask that we all work together to improve and develop the union and the sport,” Faleomavaega told a press conference at the SRU headquarters.

A former Manu Samoa halfback, Faleomavaega was appointed last week to head an interim management along with double international Namulauulu Alama Ieremia as the head of high performance.

Faleomavaega, Namulauulu and SRU treasurer Tamaleta Taimang Jessen fronted a press conference to address their development programme in the short time left in the contracts of the former CEO and HPU administrator who both resigned earlier in the week.

“We do not want to dwell on the past but to move forward,” said Faleomavaega.

He said there are lessons learnt from past errors but they hope to set up a strategic plan that would help set new goals to improve the development of the union and its activities.

They have also set up a committee to assess the complaints and issues raised by the players and to find ways to regain the public’s trust in the union.

That committee is chaired by the president of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (SASNOC), lawyer Patrick Fepulea’i.

From the outset of the press conference, Faleomavaega and Tamaleta admitted to the previous poor relationships and communications between the union and the media.

A senior local reporter said during the press conference that when emails and phone calls were ignored, she visited the SRU head office only to be told that the CEO was either in a meeting or elsewhere.

Tamaleta promised that sort of thing would change with the new executive.

The union is also facing difficulty paying its loans with the banks – which Tamaleta said is more than a million tala.

Asked if they would ask the country for assistance, Tamaleta said they would be asking their partners.

Tamaleta explained that all the funds received by the union are allocated to cover all the unions activities and projects.

These include travel for any national team for international tournaments. It also covers their uniforms, boots, accommodation and allowances.

This also covers the salaries of the ten employees working at the SRU office.

On the question of the team’s performance, there is high expectation that Manu Samoa will put up a good performance against the All Blacks when the New Zealand team makes its historic visit to play a test match at Apia Park in July.

“If I did not think Manu Samoa had a chance of beating the All Blacks, I would not be here,” said former Manu Samoa and All Blacks centre and new high performance coach Ieremia.

He is predicting that the much awaited test match between the two Pacific nations to be a very physical one.

Tamaleta explained that the deal with the All Black is an even split on the game’s takings.

Broadcasting rights will be split 50/50 between the New Zealand and Samoa unions.

Asked how much they are selling the tickets for, Tamaleta said it has not been finalised.

The game is scheduled for July, a few months before the World Cup in England.