The General Manager of the Samoa Rugby Union’s High Performance Unit, Zane Hilton, has resigned.
Mr. Hilton’s resignation is effective immediately as indicated in a letter he addressed to the C.E.O., Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i, on 13th January 2019.
“I am formally writing to inform you of my resignation from the role of General Manager of High Performance for the Samoa Rugby Union effective immediately,” said a copy of the letter received by the Samoa Observer.
“I would like to wish the Samoa Rugby Union and the Manu Samoa in particular all the best for the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan. It was an honour to work with this team.”
Faleomavaega confirmed Mr. Hilton’s resignation yesterday. He told the Samoa Observer that Mr. Hilton has found employment elsewhere, hence his resignation.
“Mr. Hilton is going back to his coaching job, that’s all I can say. He is probably in the process of negotiating with his other employers at the moment,” Faleomavaega said.
Contacted for a comment, Mr. Hilton said he couldn’t talk about the reason for his resignation.
He said all questions should be directed to the C.E.O. of Samoa Rugby Union.
Mr. Hilton joined the Samoa Rugby Union at the beginning of last year, brought in to fulfill a role encouraged by World Rugby to assist the quality of the game in Samoa.
During his first interview with the Samoa Observer, the former Super Rugby coach for the Melbourne Rebels acknowledged that Samoan rugby’s performance was not where the country wanted it to be.
“We got some great people, great coaches across the programme. It’s just about getting structure and really trying to identify what it is that Samoa rugby are good at, what are we known for because I think we can all appreciate our performances are not where we want them," he said at the beginning of the year.
“We’re all about transparency here and I’ve made sure that everything is transparent, we appreciate that the community and the country are hurting because of our performances and we know that we need to improve and that starts here and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Mr. Hilton was optimistic and enthusiastic about the potential he sees in Samoan rugby.
“There’s a huge amount of potential,” he said. “The nature of everyone on the island is that they have great passion for rugby here. It’s comforting for me to come to a country where rugby is the number one game and everyone has a passion and an opinion for it, which is great because it means people are passionate about it.
“For me, the potential is endless. We got a number of Samoans who play the game well in New Zealand, Australia and around the Pacific and also in England as well. We need to make sure we identify the quality players playing overseas and develop the game on the island too.”
Prior to his time in Samoa, Mr. Hilton had been a professional coach for the past 11 years in Japan, Europe and Queensland.