Samoan Rugby League in a ground breaking partnership

Outstanding David Faalogo in action for Toa Samoa

APIA: TUESDAY 13 MAY 2014: Smarting from a victory over Fiji and a berth in 2014 Rugby League Four Nations, Rugby League Samoa has announced a ground breaking partnership with the St George Illawarra Dragons NRL club. The partnership will see Rugby League Samoa utilise St George Illawarra Dragons’ high performance unit to develop and promote rugby league within Samoa.

A press statement said: “The vision comes from St George Illawarra Dragons Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Scott Campbell, who also acts as the current Strength and Condition Director for Toa Samoa. Together with current Dragons coach and former Toa Samoa coach Steve Price, Campbell is passionate and committed to providing opportunities for island-based players.”

Campbell joined Rugby League Samoa officials, Tagaloa Fa’afouina Su’a and Fritz Tuavii-Savaiinaea in meeting with Samoan Prime Minsiter Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi at the beginning of the year. As a result, an opportunity evolved for St George Illawarra Dragons to contribute to the nation of Samoa.

Dragons coaching staff and officials will travel to Samoa during May to conduct high performance testing of approximately 200 Samoan athletes with ages of 18 to 23. Over the course of the 5 day visit, 30 athletes will selected for the final phase of testing and interviews for the chance to be placed in an Australian-based rugby league club.

Athletes will be tested against current Dragons benchmarking standards. The testing will include fitness, skills and game participation.

The partnership is the first of its kind between Rugby League Samoa and an NRL club and will provide locals with further opportunity to play rugby league in Australia,with a vision to build towards the next World Cup. The Dragons will act as a key link in promoting the game in Samoa and provide locals an insight into procedures used by a professional NRL club.

Rugby League Samoa says it is hoped the partnership with the St George Illawarra Dragons can be used by NRL clubs in other Pacific nations.

“This will have a positive impact on the exposure of the game as a whole and continue to foster the growing relationship rugby league in general has created with Pacific Islanders in Australia and in their homelands,” RLSamoa said in a press statement.

The St George Illawarra Dragons will visit Samoa 21-25 May.

An outline of how this would be done is as follows:

  • Promote the visit prior to the Dragons arrival, through the Samoan Rugby League and general sporting streams.
  • Promotion of this event heavily centred around the week leading into the Pacific Test on the 3rd May.
  • Day 1 Samoa – Athlete screening. 200 athletes invited to a central venue and screened by Dragons Staff, with 100 invited back the following day for further testing.
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