Am. Samoa’s request for full membership on IRB is on their calendar
American Samoa application for full membership on the International Rugby Board (IRB), the governing body of world rugby, will be reviewed by the IRB council when they meet next year and Gov. Togiola Tulafono is hopeful that the territory will be granted its application.
Togiola made American Samoa’s official application presentation when he attended the IRB meeting in Auckland, New Zealand during the World Rugby Cup.
Speaking on his weekend radio program Togiola said he was informed last week by the president of the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) of a firm announcement from the IRB regarding American Samoa’s request for full membership, and this issue is on the calendar for May 15 next year, during the IRB council meeting.
Togiola explained that there were some concerns raised with the territory and those have been since addressed through a written reply and explanation. He also said that there were also concerns from the U.S. rugby federation which have since been clarified and the American federation has since voiced full support for American Samoa as a permanent member of the IRB.
The governor said that at least now, there is firmed up support for the territory’s request, as well as a date indicating when the application will be reviewed by the IRB.
Responding to a caller who was concerned that more attention is focused on American football, instead of rugby when it comes to training players and coaches, the governor said that once American Samoa gets full membership that will provide additional funding to recruit staffers as well as coaches and others to work with the team, which means more job opportunities in rugby.
He also said that any youngster in the territory unable to gain an American football scholarship can fully participate in the local rugby team, to further improve their skills for international competition.
The IRB offers accredited training courses of various levels for both coaching and officiating, as well as trainers and educators courses and specialist courses for the training of officials, according to the FORU website.
Togiola said that a full membership would mean funds from IRB to strengthen the development of rugby in American Samoa, which is currently an associate member. He also stated that rugby can provide many opportunity for players, who can advance further in their rugby career and can even be recruited by major countries with strong rugby teams.