Nat Saumi: I've got a job to finish at Brickfields
NAT SAUMI insists he still has plenty of work to do at Plymouth Albion, despite announcing his departure from the club yesterday.
Albion's head coach/director of rugby will leave Brickfields at the end of the season to return to Fiji.
The 42-year-old revealed his decision in the wake of his side's 19-15 defeat to Jersey.
That was Albion's ninth successive league defeat.
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Saumi, though, is determined to try and lead his team to a grandstand finish and believes his pre-season target of a top-eight spot in the Championship is still possible.
"Some coaches would just say 'I am out of here straight away', but, like I have said before, I like challenges and I have to finish off what I've started," said the Fijian.
"I am the type of character that whatever I start off I have to finish.
"So I'm staying to the end of the season to help the players go for these last four games.
"The players are very important to me and I am looking forward to working with them until the end of the season.
"We still have four games to go and my target is still the top eight.
"We are still ninth and the good thing is every game we go into now we are probably going to be the underdogs. Maybe people will think it is going to be a walkover."
Saumi, whose team have a week off now before playing London Scottish on March 23, admitted that making the announcement that he is leaving is a weight off his shoulders.
"It has been in my head for the last two or three weeks," he said.
"I have been weighing up all the options.
"Now the decision is made and have I have another five or six weeks with the boys. Hopefully, we will get something going and get our performances to the level they need to be."
Saumi told the players over the weekend.
When asked how they took the news, he said: "I don't know how they feel, but we'll see.
"They know the way rugby goes.
"They know I signed a one-year contract. The following year was optional, but they knew there was always going to be a time for me to leave."
When Saumi signed his contract last season he had said he would only stay for one more year.
But he admitted there was a time when he was considering taking up the option of another season.
"My family came over (midway through the season) and they said I could have another season," said Saumi.
"They stayed here of five or six weeks and I realised then that there was a lot going on back home so I changed my mind. I thought maybe I had to go back."
Saumi insisted the decision was made for family reasons and not due to Albion's recent run of poor results.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of speculation about who would be in charge at Brickfields next term.
Albion insist nothing has been confirmed in terms of a successor and that they currently gathering CVs.
Saumi, though, hopes whoever does take over keeps the club's best young players.
"There are loads of players who have really developed this season and it would not be good for the club to lose them and see someone else come in and take them," said Saumi.
"Hopefully, the club will keep most of the players and they can move forward."