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Russell enters Manu Samoa race

Russell enters Manu Samoa race

By Lee Stace

FORMER HAWKE'S Bay coach Peter Russell has applied for the vacant Manu Samoa coaching job – but is not too hopeful of getting it.

That’s because from what he understands, the current Samoa A management team of Selefuti Patu and Sila Vaifale are on a trial period during the Pacific Rugby Cup.

Should their side fare well in the competition, the Samoan Rugby Union might consider promoting the duo to national team duties.

“They might want to try and keep some momentum going with the management they’ve currently got,” Russell told Rugby News.

Nonetheless, that has not stopped Russell – who was surprisingly let go by the Magpies after guiding them back into the ITM Cup Premiership division last year – from entering the race to become the man to replace Dicky Tafua as Samoan coach.

“I’ve put my application in. I’m just going to wait and see what comes of it.”

Russell, who recently missed out on the USA Eagles job, shapes as an ideal mentor for the Manu, having crafted an impeccable résumé since his coaching days at the Marist St Pat’s club in Wellington.

He turned Hawke’s Bay into one of New Zealand’s strongest provinces, with the side delivering good on-field performances and producing four All Blacks and a number of Super Rugby players during his 2007-11 tenure in charge.

Russell feels he can add a lot to the Samoan coaching set-up and is excited by the future potential the side has on the world stage.

“The development of Samoan rugby is pretty strong at the moment and the World Cup has highlighted that. There is a lot of depth in terms of players who want to commit to Samoa,” he says.

An announcement is expected at the end of this month.

Russell says he will continue looking for coaching gigs in Europe and Japan should he miss out on the Samoa job.

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