Sport: Alama Ieremia is appointed Manu Samoa head coach
Alama Ieremia says he's ready to lead Manu Samoa up the rankings after being named as the new national head coach.
Namulauulu Alama Ieremia says after ten years as an assistant he's ready for his biggest challenge yet as head coach of Manu Samoa.
The former Samoa centre and assistant coach was confirmed in the role at an SRU Board meeting on Tuesday, replacing Stephen Betham, who resigned after a disappointing World Cup campaign.
It will be the first head coaching job for Namulauulu, who told Vinnie Wylie his plans for the team.
ALAMA IEREMIA: It's obviously a privilege and an honour to coach the Manu Samoa team. Being a former player as well I understand the responsibilities that goes with it. I'm pretty excited about the challenges we have but definitely looking forward to getting stuck in.
VINNIE WYLIE: Obviously, you're well grounded on the Samoan set-up with your role with the High Performance [Unit] and as an assistant coach for the last couple of years. What have you learnt in that time?
AI: That was, I suppose, the biggest thing for me, Vinnie, is Samoan rugby has been going through a change in the last couple of years - some pretty major reforms and restructuring - and to be part of that moving forward is certainly something that I'm pretty keen to be a part of. I know times have been tough in the last few months or so but certainly beyond that we're looking pretty positive and there's a lot of people that want to actually get in there and actually make a change and that's where I fall into the equation as well so I'm pretty excited where we can take Samoan Rugby.
VW: You were an assistant coach at the World Cup where [there was] a disappointing performance for the Manu. What responsibility do you take from that and a lot of people will look at this appointment and perhaps connect you with that so what's going to be
different about the team under your leadership?
AI: Leadership starts from the top and right through the whole organisation we will obviously go through the [Rugby World Cup] review and address some of the lessons that came out of that. From my point of view, leadership really starts with an understanding of high performance and making sure we implement that right through all the teams that are at the elite level. It's something I'm really excited to be a part of and, having that background, I suppose it's something that I'm pretty keen to stamp very early in my role. [I'm] certainly looking forward to it and there are a lot of good people that have done some good work for the Union and that but I suppose I'm coming in to actually start something new and something fresh and exciting for Samoan rugby.
VW: You've been an assistant coach in Japan, in New Zealand and with Samoa but this is your first head coaching role so an exciting step forward for yourself as well to be able to put your own stamp on a team and take that next step in your career?
AI: And that was the whole reason why I wanted a head coaches role. I've been doing it for a very long time so I'm pretty sure I'm well prepared now to actually take on the head role and something that I'm really excited about. I've got some good people that are pretty keen to help out as well and it's going to be enjoyable. I know it's going to be tough at times but that's the whole point of this appointment - I'm always keen for a challenge and it's something that's very dear to my heart and I'm pretty passionate about.
VW: Obviously you still need to qualify for the next World Cup so that next year or two with the Pacific Tri Nations, which offers a guaranteed place or two [at the 2019 tournament in Japan] is going to be crucial?
AI: It is and end of the day you've got to make sure you actually do the job and qualifying for the World Cup is very high on that list. Also making sure that we get our right development plans going forward to actually develop our coaches and certainly our player base. Certainly from my point of view, getting the players back on board and then earning the trust of the people and all the stakeholders - the easiest way to do that is to make sure we perform and qualify again for the World Cup in the next couple of years.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: