22 Dec 2015

Sport: Long wait for new Tonga Rugby CEO 'frustrating'

11:56 am on 22 December 2015

World Rugby admits it's frustrated by the ongoing search for a permanent CEO at the Tonga Rugby Union.

Former 'Ikale Tahi international Talanoa Fuka Kitekei'aho was appointed on an interim basis in June 2013 and is expected to remain in charge for the next few months at least.

Prior to that, 'Emeline Tuita lasted less than six months of her year-long contract.

World Rugby's Regional General Manager for Asia/Oceania, William Glenwright, is hopeful the a permanent replacement can be found soon to provide some stability in the organisation.

"The union is going through a transition process with their administration. We are at the end of the first cycle of the Tonga Rugby Union. Some aspects have been very positive, such as the rugby programmes and high performance and development. We have struggled to fill the position of CEO - that is something again that we continue to work with the Union. Now I think everyone has been frustrated - both the Tongan Rugby Union and World Rugby - with the length of time it's taken to resolve that but steps have been taken to address it: our Rugby Services Manager Bruce Cook is up in Tonga as we speak for meetings with the Tonga Rugby Union to progress that with the new Chairman of the union."

Fe'ao Vunipola was appointed interim chairman and president of the Tonga Rugby Union earlier this month, following the sudden resignation of Epeli Taione.