News24

Anger over axing of Schwalger

2012-05-22 09:04

Wellington - The axing of Samoa's rugby captain Mahonri Schwalger has prompted anger in the Pacific Island nation, with the largest daily newspaper calling him "the people's captain" and describing his ousting as "a comedy of errors and a sad tragedy."

The Samoa Observer said coach Stephan Betham had made a mistake in dropping World Cup captain Schwalger from the squad for next month's Pacific Nations Cup.

Betham had said that Schwalger was replaced because of "the age factor", as 31-year-old Schwalger was unlikely to be in Samoa's 2015 World Cup team so it was time to introduce younger talent.

Schwalger has been a standout player for the Chiefs in this season's Super Rugby championship and he had said his axing was not because of his age but because he had criticised Samoa Rugby Union officials after last year's World Cup.

He had said the social activities of officials at the World Cup had disrupted the team's preparation for key matches and claimed team clothing and equipment had been sold for personal profit.

Schwalger said "I knew it would cost me my international career" but "if it means that the (Samoa) will go forward without me then that's a sacrifice I will take."

The Samoa Observer said Betham had offered only "veiled excuses" for omitting a player "playing the best rugby of his life."

"Perhaps someone should remind the folks at SRU that the people of this country are not stupid and that they should stop pulling these PR disasters," the Samoa Observer said. "It's an embarrassment for this country.

"The Manu Samoa (team), after all, is not owned by the folks running the Samoa Rugby Union. This is a team that's owned by the people of this country - the very people who gave their lunch money so that the team could attend the Rugby World Cup last year.

"Today it's fair to say there is hardly a soul out there that's not hurt and deeply offended by the decision."

The Samoa Observer said other World Cup players dropped from the squad - Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, Seilala Mapusua, George Stowers and Alesana Tuilagi - had all supported Schwalger.

"Somebody within the SRU should explain," the newspaper said. "While we wait, the SRU should also take a leaf from Schwalger's book in terms of class, dignity and poise."

AP

Comments
  • johan.joostesnr - 2012-05-22 09:53

    They should incorporate the Pacific Island countries like Samoa, Fiji and Tonga into the super rugby competition, then the New Zealand conference will be even weaker. There's a lot of the Islanders playing in New Zealand. That will strengthen the Islanders rugby if they can get more game-time I think.

  • Isikhulu - 2012-05-22 09:57

    Ag shampies, Schwalger wrote the cheque with his mouth and now his body must cash it. Go read his tweets, blogs and rants; he told everybody to get knotted and now he is crying wolf. He called everyone's bluff at the RWC and had a go at the racist referee's, the larger countries, not enough payment, bad treatment etc etc. He had no respect for other people when he was doing the gum flapping; why must everybody have empathy for him now? Sad but true. He must now go reproduce himself; in other words go get ...ked.

  • Christopher Zoony De Croes - 2012-05-22 10:47

    wasn't it a samoan centre who tweeted & said all that?

      Isikhulu - 2012-05-22 11:29

      Christopher, 70/30. The centre had a lot to say but Schwalger instigated it by his own admission. During the RWC Schwalger spoke up a storm and then the centre or whoever just vented & elaborated. Schwalger was the captain and was not diplomatic or cultured in respect to his appointment or to himself even his country. He used the podium for the wrong reasons and now the Bully has been bullied.

  • Pieter - 2012-05-22 11:30

    Schwalger is 'n poephol en 'n disgrace vir die game. Sy comments tydens laasjaar se WC vergeet ek nie so gou nie! Regte vark! Ek wens ons kan 'n slag teen die Samoane speel buite die WC!!

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