By KEITH PUARIA
PNG Rugby Football Union (PNGRFU) president Richard Sapias fronted up on Saturday morning for the first time since news hit home from Adelaide, about the whereabout of coach Waisale Serevi.
“I can confirm that PNGRFU has severed ties with Waisale Serevi”, Sapias told The National.
“PNG rugby decided that it was not in the best interest of the union to continue this working relationship. I can confirm his current non-involvement.”
Sapias, responding to last week’s headlines, said there had been off-field issues that eventually led to the decision, but added that a proper release on the details of the Serevi deal would be made available at 2pm today.
Unconfirmed reports, however, have also shed some light too that there was no PNGRFU-Serevi contract, and that Serevi’s involvement was through Sevens major backer Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC), to PNGRFU and the sevens team.
Sapias, who arrived back from the Federation of Oceania Rugby Union (FORU) annual general meeting (AGM) in Noumea, New Caledonia, also said that the rugby office, were not able to comment on the issue last week because of his absence.
He will be holding a press conference today to shared some light on the issue.
On the performance of the sevens team in Adelaide, Sapias added that it was disappointing for the team not to have performed better.
The big challenge right now is to work for results.
“The results for us as a union, although disappointing, is an indication of our gap against teams that play on the international circuit across six to sevens months of the year, and have the resources to prepare, condition and play for 12 months,” Sapias said.
“It is also an indication of our current sevens programme against the sides that are regularly on the circuit and their programmes.
“We started building this team from last October, achieved re-entry in Tahiti onto the IRB circuit after missing out for the last two years – that is our gap,” he said.
Sapias added that with the Oceania Sevens now scheduled for Darwin a week before the Commonwealth Games in October, a sevens post-mortem will be finalised this week, with the task of developing a 12-month sevens programme.
He also said that the other upcoming events on the rugby calendar were the Under 19 and 20 Junior World Cup campaigns in Samoa and Russia, the push for women’s rugby in next year’s Pacific Games and the local the Coca Cola Super 5s challenge.
The results of Noumea discussions will also be made known today at 2pm.
PNG also came away with a victory of their own at the FORU AGM with Sapias getting voted onto the FORU board of executives, by eight votes against Tahiti – one and Fiji – one.