(This Article was originally run in the Taranaki Daily News)
Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger has blamed his team's inability to make the quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup on members of the management team who he claims treated the tournament as a massive boozy holiday with their mates.
Schwalger, who has made 12 appearances for Taranaki over the past two seasons, sent a scathing report to Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi outlining the team management's heavy drinking and lack of professionalism while in New Zealand.
The report was published on a New Zealand radio station's website yesterday.
The former Hurricanes, Highlanders and now Chiefs rake singled out union vice-chairman Lefau Harry Schuster, chief executive Su'a Peter Schuster, team manager Tuala Matthew Vaea and assistant manager Ryan Schuster for the team's failure in the tournament in which they missed the quarterfinals after losses to Wales and South Africa.
Schwalger outlined efforts made to cut payments to players. "When we were in Samoa he [Harry Schuster] tried to cut down the allowance from NZ$1000 to $500 per week and the boys were shocked as this was brought upon them without an explanation," he said.
Schwalger said he and the other Samoan players were paid $1000 a week during the cup. He had discovered that Tongan and Fijian players were paid $1500 a week and also received thousands more before the tournament.
The most scathing criticism was saved for Su'a Schuster and Vaea.
"Su'a turned up to the World Cup treating it like a holiday," he said in the report. "As mentioned, Su'a bringing his friends and board members to the hotel to continually drink – we found this a big distraction for the players while they are trying to prepare for every game." He said it was not unusual for Vaea to disappear from the team for two or three days every week the side was at the tournament.
"Our gears were also short," Schwalger said. "The players were given minimal issues. Considering this is the World Cup, we would have expected way more than this but Matt was giving out gears to his friends and families."