13 Jun 2018

Sport: Samoa 7s captain pleads guilty

11:42 am on 13 June 2018

Manu Samoa sevens captain Alatasi Tupou has pleaded guilty to charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without a valid license in the District Court.

The Samoa Observer reported Tupou's plea was entered by his lawyer, Donald Kerslake, before District Court judge Alalatoa Rosella Papali'i.

During the proceedings, prosecuting lawyer Vaisala Afoa revealed that Tupou, who was suspended from all rugby for two weeks, had an outstanding warrant of arrest from 2016 for a separate charge of assault.

Samoa captain Alatasi Tupou.

Samoa captain Alatasi Tupou. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Judge Alalatoa granted an application by the defence counsel to cancel the warrant of arrest against Tupou and referred the matter to the Family and Violence Court.

Sentencing has been set for next Friday.

Last week, the Samoa Rugby Union suspended the 30-year-old Tupou for two weeks after he was stood down from the London and Paris legs of the World Sevens Series.

Manu Sevens performance not good enough - SRU

The Samoa Rugby Union admits the team's performance in the final round of the World Sevens Series was not up to the standard expected of them.

The Manu finished in a share of last place in Paris after a winless weekend in the French capital.

Sir Gordon Tietjens' side were beaten by Fiji, New Zealand and Kenya in the toughest of the four pools and also lost to France and Scotland in the challenge quarter and semi finals.

Samoa finished winless in Paris.

Samoa finished winless in Paris. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Despite a disappointing end to the season, Samoa still finished 10th in the overall standings, up from 13th the previous year.

Samoa Rugby's High Performance Manager, Zane Hilton, said it was an improvement but still nowhere near where they wanted or needed to be.

"The fact of the matter is we need to have a really good look at reviewing the whole process of how the series went. We will sit down in the next few weeks and obviously go through that review leading into the World Cup," he said.

"The reality is, certainly from my perspective and the committee's perspective, we're wanting to create that winning culture. That starts with how we prepare for games and regardless of excuses and making sure we don't put any roadblocks in front of staff.

"We need to make sure we review well and then look at the World Cup and we put all efforts into being successful at the World Cup."

Zane Hilton

Zane Hilton Photo: Manu Samoa / Facebook

Tupou would be available for selection at next month's Sevens World Cup, Hilton said.

The union fully supported Tupou in his rehabilitation and even though the country was hurting from his fall from grace, there was also plenty of forgiveness, he said.

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