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Mapusua faces uncertain future as Samoa start new coach search

By Jon Newcombe
Samoa head coach Seilala Mapusua at the recent Rugby World Cup (Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Lakapi Samoa have advertised for a new Manu Samoa head coach, leaving the future of Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua uncertain. The decision is believed to be based on results at Rugby World Cup 2023 and has been met with some surprise.


Manu Samoa finished second-from-bottom in the Pool D standings in France with a 43-10 win over Chile their only victory of the campaign.

With the presence of former All Blacks such as Lima Sopoaga and Steven Luatua in their squad, the union felt Manu Samoa had underperformed.

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However, their biggest margin of defeat against teams higher than them in the World Rugby men’s rankings was just nine points. The games against Argentina (10-19), Japan (22-28) and England (17-18) could have easily fallen the other way.

Mapusua, who won 41 caps as a player for Manu Samoa, is undecided at the moment about whether to apply for his own job, which was advertised on Facebook on Monday.


When contacted by RugbyPass, Seilala pointed out he was “contracted until the end of 2024 and working still on the programme for this year”.

Mapusua was appointed as Manu Samoa’s head coach in August 2020 and had to wait 10 months before taking charge of his first game because of the pandemic.


The former London Irish centre, who is 44 next week, won eight of his first 11 Tests in charge leading up to the World Cup and felt progress was being made.

However, Mapusua will be the first to acknowledge that Test rugby is a results-driven business and the union are eager to usher in change before the new-look World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup gets underway in August.

In terms of candidates to replace him, Samoan legend Pat Lam would be a real fans’ favourite. But the former back row forward is on a lucrative, long-term contract at Bristol Bears that runs until the end of the 2027/28 season.

Manu Samoa’s schedule for 2024 has not yet been announced but what is known is that they will face Fiji and Tonga in Pool A at the Pacific Nations Cup. Japan, USA and Canada, meanwhile, will play against each other on a round-robin basis in Pool B.


All six teams will be involved in a final series in Japan this summer and in the USA in 2025 where the annual champions will be confirmed.



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Poorfour 10 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

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