1 Apr 2016

Sport: Sacked Tonga coach claims he wasn't paid

1:06 pm on 1 April 2016

The sacked Tonga sevens coach Andy Katoa says he has not been paid at all during his 18 months at the helm.

Katoa led Tonga to a runners-up finish behind Australia at November's Oceania Sevens in Auckland.

That qualified them for June's final Olympic repechage tournament, while next week the Kingdom will compete in Hong Kong for a permanent berth on next season's World Series.

Tonga men's sevens coach Andy Katoa and his team debrief after losing the Oceania Championship final to Australia.

Andy Katoa with the Tongan team at the Oceania Sevens. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

They will head to that event with a new coaching team of Siaosi Atiola and Taholo Anitoni and an almost completely new squad from the one that went to the Oceania tournament.

"Just from speaking with the TRU, they've decided to move in a different direction and that's totally fine. I can't go into it any further and right now I just wish everybody the best," said Katoa.

"I want people to continue to support Tonga Rugby - these kids have worked hard and made some tremendous sacrifices in hard hard situations to be where they are right now."

"The team that they're taking to Hong Kong, I think there's only two of those guys from my original team from New Zealand, that we lost in the final against Australia, but I think they've managed to put a real good team together and I really really wish the the best to be honest with you, absolutely."

Andy Katoa was contracted through 2016 but said he was informed by interim chair Fe'ao Vunipola two weeks ago that he was out of a job.

"It's been tough the last couple of days and so but we have a new chairman, we have new members of the board and it was their call. They were selected to make decisions and they're making decisions and I'm wishing everybody all the best. I'd rather it be me but I think what we have in store here - the team they're taking to Hong Kong - I wish them all the best and I hope they do well."

Tonga Rugby staff have not been paid since World Rugby froze funding at the start of the year but Andy Katoa confirmed he was yet to receive any wages at all from the TRU, since being appointed in October 2014.

The Tonga Rugby Union will elected a new permanent leadership at their annual general meeting next month and Katoa said he would not rule out returning to the sevens role.