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New Zealand hires Manu Samoa coach

While the Samoa Rugby Union is trying to survive its tarnished reputation following accusations by Manu Samoa players of excessive partying by union officials that led the team to the 2011 World Cup last year in New Zealand, a key figure of Samoa’s coaching staff has been snapped up by the All Blacks.

Aussie McLean, an Australian, has joined the new All Blacks coaching panel.  He was selected over other New Zealand candidates who applied for the All Blacks defense coaching job.

McLean was Samoa’s technical advisor and then was promoted as assistant coach. He had been working with the Manu Samoa team for the past three years and was one of the spokesmen for the team during Samoa’s campaign for the World Cup last year.

McLean told the media after his appointment to the new coaching staff of New Zealand’s All Blacks World Cup championship team that he had gained valuable experience while employed by the Manu Samoa.

“Working with the Manu Samoa team has given me a strong understanding of what is required to be successful in international rugby.”

Speaking about his involvement with the Manu Samoa team during the World Cup tournament, McLean said he was proud of the way the team performed.

“I’ve been to a few places and coached international teams and the World Cup was fantastic to us. We (Manu Samoa) didn’t have the resources really that the All Blacks have got but we got pretty close to Wales and South Africa, so I’m really proud of what we did as a team, not just me and it’s certainly been I think a big help in sort of bridging the gap,” McLean told the world media.

On Tuesday, New Zealand time, the new coaching staff met for the first time since their appointments.

The former Manu Samoa assistant coach has joined forces with the All Blacks new coach, Steve Hansen and assistant coach, Ian Foster. They take over from retired head coach Graham Henry who won the World Cup for New Zealand in 2011. Hansen served as Henry’s assistant coach for more than four years.

Meanwhile, the Manu Samoa is still without a head coach after that position was advertised late last year amid the turmoil that followed the conclusion of Samoa’s campaign.

Manu Samoa captain, Mahonri Schwalger and several veteran players blamed the Samoa Rugby Union CEO, Su’a Peter Schuster, team manager, Tuala Mathew Vaea, union deputy chairman, Lefau Harry Schuster and others of showing disrespect by disrupting the team’s preparations during the World Cup competition. 

They accused the officials of partying with friends at various team hotels, giving out rugby gear to friends and family members, and misappropriating money intended to pay the players.