New head coach for Manu Samoa Steve Jackson met Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union (S.R.U.), Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, yesterday at the Government building.
The Prime Minister personally congratulated Mr. Jackson and told him to “just enjoy it.”
“You have my full support and the support of the board,” he said.
Mr. Jackson said he felt privileged to have been chosen as the head coach.
“It is an absolute privilege and again a privilege to meet the Prime Minister today. I am looking forward to the Northern Hemisphere tour.”
Mr. Jackson and the team will depart New Zealand on October 27 for London, where they will begin their assessment and training for three days ahead of their test matches.
Their first game of the tour is November 10 in Spain against U.S.A., the second in Georgia on November 17 and their final game on November 24 against Spain.
With Manu Samoa ranked 16th with world rugby rankings, Mr. Jackson stressed his desire to put the Manu back in the top 10.
This is not just about succeeding in the World Cup, he said, but about getting away from being a tier two team.
The Northern Hemisphere is the last tour of the year for the team, and Mr. Jackson has a yearlong contract with the S.R.U.
Answering questions on the presence of local players on the team, Mr. Jackson assured the press no one has a guaranteed place in the World Cup team.
“This team, as I have said to the players going on the tour, is not going to be the team that plays in the World Cup, nor is it going to be the team that plays in the Pacific Nations Cup.”
He referred to Samoan players making waves in Samoa A and said the management team is keeping an eye on more promising players.
“The door is not closed on any of those guys, some of those guys have been outstanding. It will be for myself to have a good look at them next year.”