3 Feb 2017

Sport: Cook Islands Rugby Union sack 15s coach

11:04 am on 3 February 2017

The Cook Islands Rugby Union has terminated the contract of men's national head coach Stan Wright.

Cook Islands News reports that the move follows Wright's public statements about the Union's affairs and his suggestion to change its governance structure from the current executive to a board, in what he believed would be a positive change for the development of rugby.

CIRU said in a statement it made the decision to terminate Wright's contract on Tuesday after "misleading and disrespectful comments" made by the former national skipper in public about the organisation and its executives over the past couple of weeks.

Former Cook Islands rugby captain and coach, Stan Wright.

Former Cook Islands rugby captain and coach, Stan Wright. Photo: Cook Islands Rugby Union

The national rugby union governing body also said their decision follows "months of Wright's attempt to get rid of the current executive".

In an email to Cook Island News, Wright, who was appointed to the post in April last year, acknowledged the termination.

However, he said CIRU had failed in a termination letter dated January 31 to reveal the reason(s) for their decision.

CIRU President Moana Moeka'a said it was unfortunate that Wright's appointment should come to this.

"It looked really promising when we appointed him early last year. However CIRU believes that he has crossed the line and appears to display little respect for those charged with running the organisation," Moeka'a said.

"We wish Wright all the best in his future rugby endeavours."

Former Cook Islands captain and now coach Stan Wright during his time at Leinster.

Former Cook Islands captain, and now ex coach, Stan Wright during his time at Leinster. Photo: AFP

Wright said although he did not get the opportunity to coach the Cook Islands team in an actual match, he hoped he had managed to make a difference especially to the players, volunteers and supporters in the short time he served as the head coach.

"I'm a proud Cook Islander who will always speak and act on what I believe in, and an overhaul of CIRU starting from the top was the only way forward and the other thing I wanted implemented," Wright said.

"Everything was done for the right reasons and for the best of CIRU. I am accountable for my actions, and if that doesn't fit (with) the direction that the CIRU executive want to take Cook Islands rugby, then I will not stand in the way of progress for the good of CIRU and our Cook Islands people."

Wright said he stood by everything he had said and genuinely wished CIRU, all players, volunteers and supporters the very best for the future.

A new coach will be appointed to lead the team at the Oceania Cup Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament in August.

The top team from the PNG tournament will go on to a repecharge tournament in 2018.