Mase Mahonri Schwalger: Manu Samoa has a new head coach

Mahonri Schwalger had captained Samoa to victory over the Wallabies. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Lakapi Samoa has confirmed the appointment of former Manu Samoa captain who also played for the Highlanders, Hurricanes, and the Chiefs, Mase Mahonri Schwalger, as the new head coach of Manu Samoa.

This decision follows a thorough selection and recruitment process, during which the board convened to confirm the report and recommendations from the selection panel.

Mase succeeded the outgoing Manu Samoa head coach Vaovasamanaia Seilala Mapusua.

He has been appointed for a four-year term, starting in 2024 and extending through to the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup.

“It is truly an honour to be appointed as the head coach of Manu Samoa,” Schwalger said.

“This role carries a significant responsibility, but I’m thrilled by the chance to contribute to the rich legacy of the blue jersey.

Representing one’s country, whether as a coach or player, is the pinnacle of sporting achievement, and I’m deeply humbled by this opportunity. I’m eagerly looking forward to the journey ahead,” Schwalger said.

Lakapi Samoa High Performance Unit general manager Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun said the union is “confident that we have selected the perfect leader to steer Manu Samoa to success”.

Mase Mahonri Schwalger

Mase Mahonri Schwalger Photo: Lakapi Samoa

Who is Mase Mahonri Schwalger

Mase Mahonri Schwalger (Manu Samoa #350) made his debut for Manu Samoa in 2000 against Wales at Millennium Stadium. He went on to play 40 tests for Samoa.

Amongst his notable achievements while playing in the blue Jersey, he captained the team in 2010 and won the Pacific Nations Cup for the first time, and the historic victory over the Wallabies in 2011. He also led them in the Rugby World Cup 2011 held in New Zealand.

He played professional rugby for various franchises in Super Rugby, including the Highlanders, Hurricanes, and the Chiefs.

He played Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Taranaki, and Counties Manukau in the NZ National Provincial Championship (NPC). He also played for Scarlets and Sale Sharks in the Premiership in Northern Hemisphere. Additionally, he represented Samoa in the Pacific Islanders team in 2006.

Retiring from rugby in 2014, Mase transitioned into coaching, starting as a Technical Advisor for Manu Samoa in preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015. He later founded the Rugby Academy Samoa (RAS) in Samoa, and contributed to the success of teams namely the Aana Provincial Senior A team, Aana Chiefs, and Savaii Vikings in the Super Nine Championship.

In 2016, he was called to play for the World XVs team that played the Wallabies and Springboks.

In 2017, Mase was appointed Head Coach of the Junior Manu Samoa, leading them to the World Rugby Junior Championship in Georgia. He has served as an Assistant Coach for Samoa A and Manuma Samoa and Manu Samoa.

Recently, Mase played a pivotal role as an Assistant Coach for the Junior Manu Samoa in the Oceania Rugby Under 20’s Challenge 2024 in Auckland, New Zealand. Their success secured Samoa’s participation in the upcoming World Rugby Junior Trophy in Scotland this July.

He holds the Mase matai title from the village of Saleaula in Savaii. He is married to Molly Young-Schwalger and they have a daughter and currently residing in Samoa with families.

Source: RNZ