WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Samoa Rugby Union says it has accepted the resignation of national coach Alama Ieremia after the Pacific nation's disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign.

Former All Blacks center Ieremia tendered his resignation after Samoa finished last in the three-nation Pacific Nations Cup competition which acted as the World Cup qualifying tournament in Oceania. First-placed Fiji and second-placed Tonga have qualified automatically for the 2019 World Cup in Japan but Samoa will have to qualify through a repechage against a second-tier European nation.

In a statement, Ieremia said he resigned "with heavy heart" but "the losses of this campaign have proven too costly for everyone. I feel I still have much to give this role ... but as head coach I alone must take full responsibility for our results."