Pacific coaches are looking for exposure and job opportunities in higher-end rugby clubs all over the world. To date, no local coach from Tonga, Samoa, or Fiji has had a coaching job with any Tier One rugby club.
In support, Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) coaches say their local colleagues need to learn and gain experience, so they can then bring that experience back to the islands and coach their teams with the latest techniques while at the same time maintaining their style of rugby.
Manu Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua said it was about time that Pacific nations started focusing on this area.
“What we do not have is opportunities. (We need to) create more pathways not only for the players but for the coaches as well,” he said.
Fijiana head coach Saiasi Fuli said rugby was evolving and so must coaches along with players.
Pacific countries like Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji have contributed a lot in terms of high-quality players, but their local coaches are unknown because there are fewer – or close to no – available pathways for them.
All of the PNC coaches have made it through opportunities that were provided abroad. Fiji is coached by Vern Cotter, Tonga by Toutai Kefu and Mapasua is in charge of Samoa.
Although Kefu is Tongan and Mapasua Samoan, they were former players who settled abroad and took the pathways available there allowing them to coach the national team.
In the case of Fiji, most coaches are able to attain high level coaching certificates but are unable to secure coaching contracts with top end clubs which allow them the exposure.
Cotter has a level three World Rugby certification, and while other Fijian coaches boast the same, Cotter’s experience sets him apart.
This is the exposure many Pacific coaches are looking for.