19 Sep 2017

Sport: Tafua vows to restore trust within Samoan rugby

12:26 pm on 19 September 2017

Returning Manu Samoa rugby coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua says his immediate focus will be on re-establishing the trust between the players and coaching staff.

Fuimaono has been appointed to a second stint as head coach through to the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua.

Dickie Tafua's first stint as Samoa coach ended at the 2011 World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He replaces Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, who resigned last month after the team suffered four straight defeats in the June/July test window to fall short of automatic qualification.

Fuimaono previously coached Samoa from 2009 until 2011 and said he had the experience to get the team moving forward again.

"I think the only problem at the moment is the trust between the coaches and the players," said the two-time national sevens coach.

"There are some players they are going the other way and the coaching and the other players going the other way so that's why we just want to bring together.

"And I think we need our players to trust their management and the management to trust their players - that's the first thing we have to (do)".

Fuimaono's previous tenure as Manu Samoa head coach ended in controversy after Samoa failed to qualify for the knockout rounds of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Team captain Mahonri Schwalger was never selected again after criticising the Samoa Rugby Union and team management for their conduct during the event.

Mahonri Schwalger last played for Samoa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Mahonri Schwalger last played for Samoa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo: AFP

The then International Rugby Board also brought a misconduct charge against midfielder Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu when he called referee Nigel Owens a "racist, biased prick" following Samoa's 13-5 defeat by South Africa in their final pool match.

"We learned some of the mistakes that were done in 2011 is during our selections but all the mistakes we were doing in the past that's where we learned some of the good things. Making mistakes is good for our (learning)," Tafua reflected.

Fuimaono said he intended to "bring in some new blood into the squad" in time for Samoa's Northern tour in November.

He acknowledged that not all members of the Samoan rugby community were happy with his reappointment as head coach but vowed to prove them wrong.

"You know the problem is, I'm not saying this is wrong (or) this is right," he said regarding his appointment.

"What I'm saying is just to wait for another couple of months and then you will see. As I said, call back in the next four weeks and then you will know the difference".

"So at the moment the support of the country is not 100 percent at the moment so what we want to do is just to improve some of the areas that we need to improve so that they can restart their support, to start to support from our country".

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