Ex-All Black Alama Ieremia appointed Samoa coach

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Former All Blacks center Alama Ieremia has been appointed coach of Samoa, replacing Stephen Betham who resigned after this year's Rugby World Cup.

Ieremia was an assistant under Betham, and his promotion to his first head coaching role was recommended by a five-man appointment panel headed by former All Blacks captain Graham Mourie.

The 45-year-old Ieremia has previously held assistant coaching positions with Suntory in Japan, Wellington province, and Super Rugby's Wellington-based Hurricanes.

Ieremia says he is ''realistic about the challenges that face (Samoa) and our rugby teams. It's exciting to be part of the changes at SRU, and my first priority will be to align how we develop our work on the field, with the priorities set off the field.''