Rugby: Palamo new Coach for Manu Samoa

By Mathew Lemisio

Former Manu Samoa star, Tuala Lepale Niko Palamo has been named Manu Samoa head coach until the 2011 World Cup.

The announcement was made by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi at his office this afternoon (January 14).

The coaching position is subject to review in two years according to Tuilaepa.

The Prime Minister added that the decision to select the new Manu Samoa coach was not easy to reach due to the caliber of those applied.

"The candidates were all capable of becoming Manu Samoa coaches," he told the media. "So it wasn't an easy task to decide who to make coach of Manu Samoa."

Tuala edged out tough competition from former National Manu Samoa Sevens coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, former Manu Samoa Coach, Fepulea'i Selefuti Patu, former Manu Samoa captain, Papaliitele Peter Fatialofa, Former All Black and Manu Samoa star, Soifua John Schuster and former Manu Samoa hooker, Paepae Stan Toomalatai.

The were also overseas based candidates who vied for the top rugby job in the country including former Manu Samoa fullback Mike Umaga, the brother of the recently retired All Black captain, Tana.

Tuala, 50 said he was pleased with his selection.

"I'm very happy," Tuala told the media before immediately conceding that he was under no illusion his new job would be a fairytale ride.

"It won't be an easy job," he pointed out, "There's a lot of work to do and I will need all the support I can get to ensure we achieve our goals."

Tuala was first selected in the Manu Samoa team back in 1978 as a 19-year-old. He was forced to retire 12 years later after sustaining an injury to his arm while playing footy for Waitemata Rugby Club in New Zealand.

He also had older brothers donning the national jersey before him.

Tuala now resides in Sinamoga with his wife and four children and is currently the chief executive officer of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympics Committee (SASNOC).

He said he would sit down with the board of SASNOC to discuss his future with the organization.


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