23 Oct 2017

Sport: Samoa Rugby Union close to bankruptcy

1:13 pm on 23 October 2017

The Samoa Rugby Union is close to filing for bankruptcy.

CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai told the Daily Mail newspaper that the national team's future is under serious threat from mounting debts, and that they are close to insolvency.

He said without desperate support from the Samoan Government the SRU would not survive - a point referenced by the Prime Minister and SRU Chair Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi in the Union's 2016 Annual Report.

"I wouldn't like to speak about the worst-case scenario. We don't want to go down the road where there is no Samoan national team because our people have a lot of passion. This must not happen," Faleomavaega said in the Daily Mail.

"This year's tour is going ahead as planned. If we can't afford to put together a team then there will be no tours. World Rugby give us funding but we still need a system of revenue sharing.

"Money is at the centre of everything. The economic model is absolutely wrong."

Manu Samoa and England players join for a prayer post-match.

Samoa last played at Twickenham in 2014. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Samoa Rugby Union has requested a fee of $US200,000 for taking part in next month's test against England at Twickenham, in an attempt to ease their financial problems, but World Rugby guidelines do not require host countries to share in their match-day revenues, unless the test is scheduled outside the international window.

The SRU's 2016 Annual Report revealed a net loss of $US42,000, after the High Performance Unit posted a six figure loss ($US103,000).

The report, obtained by the Samoa Observer, also said debts had been reduced from $US274,000 to $US192,000, having been closer to $US400,00 0 in 2015.

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Manu coach backs new caps

Samoa head coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua is backing his new first fives to handle the step-up to international rugby.

Rohan Saifoloi and AJ Mamoe Alatimu will battle it out for the number ten jersey, after being selected out of Australia's National Rugby Championship.

Rohan Saifoloi has been called up for Manu Samoa after impressing for the Sydney Rays.

Rohan Saifoloi has been called up for Manu Samoa after impressing for the Sydney Rays. Photo: Rugby Australia

Fuimaono said the Samoan squad had "a very good mix of experienced players and some of the new players", with seven new caps in all.

He said Saifoloi and Alatimu have been playing at a good level in Australia and were the best options available.

"D'angelo (Leuila) at the moment is carrying an injury - he's not been cleared until the third week of November, I think, so he's not ready," he said.

"And Tusi Pisi we already contacted him and maybe he's not available so that's why we've been busy to spend two weeks to look for a first five, but those are the two that make themselves available for us".

Fuimaono said Tusi Pisi and D'angelo Leuila remain in the selection mix for next year's crucial World Cup qualifying matches, while there are other options within the squad for the upcoming tests against Scotland, Romania and England.

"We've selected Kahn (Fotuali'i) so he might cover the first five as well if (required) - Kahn can play first five too but Rohan is doing well in Australia. He's playing a similar (level) to Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand".

"I'm happy that all these players they put up their hand and they make themselves available for us," said the returning head coach, who also coached Samoa between 2009 and 2011.

"I think the most important thing to us is our planning for June next year.

"That up and coming game we are looking for a chance for the World Cup, it's the most important campaign for us...and it is very good that this November tour is a good opportunity for us to put together a good team to prepare for that".

Samoa coach Titimaea Tafua during the 2011 World Cup.

Samoa coach Titimaea Tafua during the 2011 World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT