Samoa scouts for future players.
Samoan rugby has begun an innovative move to improve Manu Samoa’s international competitiveness and brand. Formalizing partnerships via Coordinators tapping into New Zealand and Australia’s Samoan communities, aims to generate revenue and identify rugby talent. The revenue will help SRU with new initiatives, and to improve and sustain domestic rugby developments tabled in its 2008-2011 Strategic Plan.
In Australia, Tofa Nuafesili Tavita Sio is the Official Coordinator, while Afioga Aiolupotea John Roache, President for the Auckland Samoa Rugby Football Union Inc. looks after New Zealand.
“The partnerships aim firstly to source additional revenue and second to coordinate identification and recommendation of potential players of Samoan heritage for Samoa’s National Teams (U19s, U20s, Pacific Rugby Cup-Savaii Samoa & Upolu Samoa, Manu Samoa and Manusina 15s and 7s)”, says Su’a Schuster.
“We see our coordinators, as a strategic channel to advocate Samoan rugby, assist with rugby scholarship activities, source used clubs and schools old rugby gears, promote SRU/PUMA merchandising products and other opportunities.”
Tofa Nuafesili Sio is confident the partnership has a bright future in Australia. “There are many Samoans playing in Senior Club teams in Australia and together with many former Manu Samoa players living in the communities, there is a soft spot for Samoan Rugby in the Australian Rugby fraternity” says Nuafesili Sio. “Timing is excellent where the SRU, right now, can provide the glue to bring rugby and other Samoan social sports and networks together. It’s exciting and together with our partners in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide I am thrilled and humbled to be appointed as Coordinator for all SRU activities here in Australia.”
For New Zealand, Afioga Aiolupotea John Roache has already moved forward with the project. We have been supporters of Samoan rugby for decades and this is a great vehicle for closer collaboration for the continuous development of rugby in Samoa. It’s a privilege and an honour for me to be involved in this new direction and era for Samoan rugby.”
Samoa Rugby Union is confident the partnerships will achieve much for Samoan rugby development and resource sustainability by bringing Samoans at home and overseas closer together through rugby. “This is the start of a global Samoan Rugby franchise. We are looking to some very good things happening from this in the near future”, states Su’a Schuster.