Alama Ieremia began his test rugby career with Samoa and is starting head coaching life with the same country.
The former All Black midfield back has been appointed to lead the side after the last 18 months as an assistant including the side’s erratic World Cup campaign.
“I’ve seen the good the bad and I suppose the ugly at times and I feel I have something to offer the country and am pretty passionate about it too,” he said.
The 45-year-old agreed Samoa was at the crossroads in test fortunes with some tier two nations starting to overhaul them. He wanted to bring a high performance approach to his workand had enlisted the help of a number of other staff.
One of his major issues was getting all the players he wanted and being able to dovetail the local and overseas talent including those competing in New Zealand.
“It’s already been a massive issue,” Ieremia said.
“I suppose that is one of the major challenges I am going to have and it is something that has been there for a while. It’s not just Samoa, it ‘s Fiji, Tonga—many countries have the same problem— and some tier two countries have moved on and done something about it to name Argentina and Japan.
“We have to figure out a way to go with the times otherwise we are going to be left behind and that is something that I wasn’t prepared to do, just sit there and look at things eventuating.”
Ieremia pulled out the old verbal chestnut about his rebuilding targets and high performance objectives. Restructuring in Samoa included a new chief executive, coaching group and introducing programmes to accelerate the nation’s progress.
Many of the necessary battles had been fought and while there was a great deal of work still to be done, Ieremia thought help from World Rugby and changes in Samoa had shown through in the last few months.
Regaining the trust of a number of groups was one of the challenges and that involved working to get their respect again by indicating the changes and being positive about the way forward.
Ieremia would not reveal the other names on his staff.