Samoa appoint Palamo as full time coach

Samoa have appointed a new coach following the retirement of All Black legend Michael Jones (pictured)  in the wake of the Pacific island team’s disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup.

Samoa Rugby Union chairman Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also prime minister, said Tuala Lepale Niko Palamo would become the first full-time head coach.

Palamo has coached the national sevens team and the under-19 team and is chief executive of Samoa’s Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee.

He admitted he was surprised to be appointed against a strong field of nine shortlisted candidates.

“To be honest, I was quite shocked when Tuilaepa announced I was the coach,” he told reporters.

“Manu Samoa right now is in a redevelopment stage, I want to develop the team and build them up again.

“I think the challenge for me is identify the areas that need development and form a strategy and structure to tackle these areas.” Tuilaepa said Palamo, who played for Samoa for 12 years until retiring in 1990, had demonstrated a record of leadership and management inside and outside rugby.

He has been appointed for two years, with provision to extend the contract for another two years through to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

Samoa had a disappointing World Cup in France, winning only one of their pool matches against the United States, while losing to England, South Africa and local rivals Tonga.

Jones, who became an All Black legend in an 11-year career from 1987, had coached Samoa since 2004.

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