Samoa prepares its next generation

(IRB.COM) Friday 27 September 2013
Samoa prepares its next generation
Talented Samoan teenagers collect their awards at a graduation ceremony in Apia

Twenty young Rugby players gradutated this week from the Samoan Rugby Union Academy of 2013. The academy programme, which is funded by the International Rugby Board, is designed to develop 18 and 19-year-old players and equip them with the skills, disciplines, knowledge and attitude so they can make the natural progression to national under-20s, Sevens and senior Fifteens teams.

On a more general level, it also provides these young people with career guidance and educational support in case their quest to become professional Rugby players does not come to fruition.

“I would like to congratulate these impressive young people on their graduation,” said Matthew Vaea, General Manager of the Samoan Rugby Union’s High Performance Unit.

“What we want to do is to furnish the programme’s members with appropriate life skills to develop into well-rounded individuals with the ability to succeed in life, whether inside or outside of Rugby and to act as a good role model for the Game.”

This is the eighth graduation of academy players from the SRU High Performance Programme. Since 2006, the programme has produced 98 players that have made selection to the Manu Samoa, proving time and again that the programme and the Union are heading in the right direction. In that time, the IRB has invested GBP11million, which has assisted the Union in achieving world-class performances in both Sevens and Fifteens. 

The syllabus includes sections on nutrition, personal organisation and time management, drugs/alcohol, sports medicine and communications. This year also re-introduced an English component into the syllabus with the focus on communications and study skills.

Twelve of the players were recognised by their selection to the Samoa squad for the IRB Junior World Championship 2013 in France where they finished in 10th position.

In addition, three players are members of the current Samoa Sevens training squad and 15 have been selected to participate in the upcoming Super Four competition starting this week, a mini-tournament from which the Samoa A squad will be selected.

“It is important to acknowledge the coaching and technical staff, who have worked hard to train and tutor these players, and the IRB, which has funded and guided this important project,” added Vaea.