The embattled coach of the 8th IRB ranked Manu Samoa Sevens team, Viliamu Punivalu, has resigned, less than a year into his role.
His resignation was apparently submitted, discussed and approved by the Board of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.) last Thursday.
Repeated attempts to obtain a comment from the S.R.U. about Punivalu’s resignation – among other issues – were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, contacted for a comment, Punivalu confirmed his resignation.
“I’m done and I’m no longer there,” he said about his position with the S.R.U. “I have already given them my resignation letter.”
But Punivalu declined to elaborate.
“I cannot comment any further because I’m no longer there. So you will have to talk to the S.R.U. to get the information that you need.”
Punivalu’s decision comes on the back of a poor performance by the Manu Samoa Sevens. The team finished 8th on the I.R.B.
Sevens rankings, the worst position Samoa has been since winning the world title several years ago.
Punivalu’s appointment, announced last year, raised a lot of eyebrows.
At the time, A.C.E.O. of S.R.U., Tavui Mike Lemisio assured members of the public that Punivalu was the “most outstanding” candidate from a field of applicants that included Manu Samoa legends, Muliagatele Brian Lima and Lemalu Semo Sititi. Tavui is no longer with the S.R.U.
But from the start, Punivalu knew the job ahead was not easy.
“It’s hard to please everyone in the country,” he said during his first media interview following his appointment.
Asked if he was not fearful – considering the recent history of the S.R.U. – where they’ve even sacked coaches with some level of success, he said: “I’ve given this role a lot of thought.
“Coaching the national team of a country that is so passionate about rugby is not a decision you just wake up and make.
“I’m committed and ready to give it my all.
If in the case that I’m not successful, I can step aside and allow another coach to come in.
“But while I’ve got the job, I’m going to do the job to the very best of my ability. If it’s not good enough, I will walk away happy knowing that at least I’ve done my best.”…
APIA, (SAMOA OBSERVER)