Samoa axe outspoken captain

2012-05-16 08:38
Mahonri Schwalger (Gallo)

Wellington - The Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) has dropped captain Mahonri Schwalger from the national side after his stinging criticism of the team management's conduct at last year's Rugby World Cup.

New coach Stephen Betham did not include Schwalger in a 35-man training squad named on Tuesday ahead of next month's Pacific Nations Cup and a one-off Test with Scotland in Apia.

Betham also axed centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, who generated controversy at the World Cup in New Zealand with an angry Twitter rant accusing Welsh referee Nigel Owens of racism after Samoa's 13-5 loss to South Africa.

The coach said Schwalger was left out due to his age but the 31-year-old hooker told the Samoa Observer he believed it was because he spoke out about management of the team, known as Manu Samoa, at the World Cup.

"I knew it would cost me my international career," he told the newspaper.

"If it means that the Manu will go forward without me then that's a sacrifice I will take."

Samoa disappointed at the World Cup, failing to reach the knockout stage, and Schwalger provided a damning assessment of management's performance at the tournament in a report to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

He said officials would disappear for days at a time, engaged in drinking binges at the team hotel and treated the event as a holiday. Most of those he criticised have since left the SRU.

Schwalger, whose Chiefs are second on the Super 15 ladder, said he had no warning about being dropped and still felt he could make a contribution to the national team.

"Age means nothing, selection should be based on performance, not age," he told the Observer.

"Look at some of the top players in the world, they are in their mid 30s and still the best in their positions."

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who will play club rugby in Japan next season after leaving British side Gloucester, said on Twitter that he was "gutted" at his omission.

"Word is, once again, someone's tampering with my international career," he wrote.

Betham told the Observer that the International Rugby Board (IRB) did not want Fuimaono-Sapolu in the team.

"The International Rugby Board has ruled against Eliota playing rugby in IRB-run tournaments," he said. "It was made known in a letter."

Read more on:    mahonri schwalger  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Did Stormers and Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit deserve to be named SA Rugby Player of the Year?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.