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Local coaches and referees receive certificates for Level 1 training

Several local rugby coaches and referees voiced words of praise on Monday night after they received certificates for the Level 1 course to become coaches and referees for local teams in the American Samoa Rugby Union (ASRU).

On hand for the event were Gov. Togiola Tulafono who is also the chairman of the ASRU, and officials from the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) who came over from Apia to conduct the two-day workshop.

Twenty-two coaches and 10 referees received certificates.

According to the Secretary of the ASRU Falefata Moli Lemana, those who attended the first workshop for coaches and referees from last year, together with last week’s workshop group received certificates, but those who attended the workshop for the first time will receive their certificate after the third workshop on July 2012.

“These certificates are not given out immediately after the workshop, but the Instructors need to submit all their paper work first to the IRB for review, and if it approved, official notice and certificates will be provided to the union,” Falefata said.

Two instructors from Samoa provided theory and practical training for all locals who attended.

One of the instructors who is also a former Manu Samoa player and coach talked to Samoa News about the outcome of the training.

Lilomaiava Taufusi Salesa, who was the first coach for the Manu Samoa 7’s team that won the Hong Kong cup in 1993, believes that the future of rugby in American Samoa is starting to build up and if all local rugby club officials and coaches come together to help one another, there will be a time in the future that American Samoa rugby team will be one of the best teams in the world.

According to Lilomaiava, this training is very essential to all coaches and referees, because knowing and understanding all the rules of the game are key elements to a successful game for the team.

“The coaches need to understand the rules of the game, he/she also needs to know how to apply these rules to his/her team, in order for them to win each match,” Lilomaiava said.

“In our last day for this workshop today (last Monday), we focused mainly on the field training, how to form a scrum and what rules all players must understand when the scrum is on or even rucks and malls, so practical training is also one of the key things coaches and referees need to understand more about it,” said Lilomaiava.

Samoa Referees Association President, Papalii Avia Tulouna said that the participants in last week’s workshop are not new to the field of rugby and that is a positive aspect to him as an instructor.

“Everyone who attended this workshop is a former rugby player and they have the knowledge and skills to assist their team, so our main focus is to give them more elements and ideas on how to provide good coaching skills to their players and also how to approach each player when there is a bad call happening during the game,” Papalii said.

Papalii is one of many referees from Samoa who comes here to assist the ASRU on international sevens tournaments, and as a former coach and player, he believes that if the coach imparts good skills to the players before the game, the game will be smooth and people will want to watch it.

Lilomaiava and Papalii are two of many rugby officials from Samoa and in the Pacific islands who are certified by the IRB to conduct training and workshops for local coaches and referees. This was the first workshop for local coaches and referees after American Samoa became a full member of the IRB.

The IRB council approved the application of American Samoa after it successfully fulfilled the criteria to upgrade from associate membership. The Union, which is part of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU), has 18 affiliated clubs and runs senior men’s, senior women’s and junior competition under its auspices.

All those who received certificates are now assisting their local clubs in the ongoing 15 a side rugby tournament that started last month.