Samoa oust skipper Schwalger
Captain axed after scathing attack on World Cup management
Last Updated: May 16, 2012 10:44am
Mahonri Schwalger: Gave damning raport on management
Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger has been axed following his vitriolic attack on the team's management at last year's Rugby World Cup.
Schwalger's name was conspicuously absent from Stephen Betham's training squad when it was announced on Tuesday ahead of next month's Pacific Nations Cup and a one-off Test with Scotland in Apia.
But the new coach, who also dropped controversial centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, insisted that the 33-year-old Waikato Chiefs hooker had been left out because of his age.
Schwalger gave a damning assessment of the management's performance after Samoa disappointed at the World Cup, where the team known as Manu failed to reach the knockout stage.
In a report to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi he said officials would disappear for days at a time, engaged in drinking binges at the team hotel and treated the event as a holiday.
Most of those he criticised have since left the SRU but the former skipper, who said he had no warning about being dropped, believes he is still paying the price for his words.
"I knew it would cost me my international career. If it means that the Manu (Samoa) will go forward without me then that's a sacrifice I will take."
Mahonri Schwalger Quotes of the week
"I knew it would cost me my international career," he told the Samoa Observer. "If it means that the Manu will go forward without me then that's a sacrifice I will take."
Schwalger, whose Waikato Chiefs are second on the Super 15 ladder, dismissed notions of age and insisted he could still make a contribution to the national team.
"Age means nothing, selection should be based on performance, not age," he continued.
"Look at some of the top players in the world, they are in their mid-30s and still the best in their positions."
Fuimaono-Sapolu caused a storm at the World Cup after he posted an angry Twitter rant accusing Welsh referee Nigel Owens of racism after Samoa's 13-5 loss to South Africa.
The Gloucester centre, who will play club rugby in Japan next season, returned to the social networking site after he was axed to say he was "gutted" at his omission from the squad.
"Word is, once again, someone's tampering with my international career," the 31-year-old wrote.
Betham however, told the Samoa Observer that the International Rugby Board (IRB) had forced Fuimaono-Sapolu out.
"The International Rugby Board has ruled against Eliota playing rugby in IRB-run tournaments," he said. "It was made known in a letter."