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England players decide not to give Samoans share of match fees

By Ian Cameron
Dylan Hartley and England prepare to face France in the 2016 Six Nations

England Rugby players have made the decision not to give Samoa’s players a €1,000 donation per player ahead of their clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

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Earlier this month both Mako Vunipola and Manu Tuilagi urged their England colleagues to donate £1,000 of their £22,000 match fee. However in a statement released today the players said they would not be doing so, saying that they backed the RFU’s decision to make a contribution as part of a goodwill gesture towards Samoa and its players.

“As players we feel it isn’t our place to get involved in what appears to be a complex issue between the Samoan union and World Rugby,” said a spokesman for the England players.

“We are aware that the RFU has pledged to make a goodwill gesture to them on behalf of everyone involved with England Rugby and we support that decision.

“As players we look forward to playing Samoa this weekend as I am sure they are too. We won’t be commenting on this matter any further.”

The RFU also released a statement.

“The RFU will make a goodwill gesture payment to Samoa this week in addition to paying the costs we already pay under the World Rugby Terms of participation for England to play Samoa,” said an RFU spokesman.

Vunipola told the Mail on Sunday earlier this month that ‘if players help out, maybe the higher ups will see and realise they should help out as well’.

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‘If 23 England players give £1,000 each, that will make a lot of difference to the Islanders.’ he went on to say.

‘We’re very lucky over here with the security we have from our clubs and England. A union as big as England get a lot of revenue so I’d like to see them help out Samoa. I have no interest in politics at all — Maro Itoje had to explain to me what Brexit meant — but I’m interested in helping people back home. People think the situation will solve itself but it’s getting worse.’

Manu Tuilagi, who is Samoan by birth but who represents England said: ‘A rugby world without Samoa is no rugby world to me. It would be very, very sad. There’s so much potential. With the right infrastructure and management, they can be as good as any team in the world.’

Both men are members of Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, a players union that represents the interests of Pacific Island players in Europe.

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Last month chairman and former Manu Samoa test forward Dan Leo told Rugby Pass:

‘At the moment the [revenue] model is based on a very old, almost prehistoric, agreement where the home unions get to keep 100 per cent of their gate takings. In theory that’s then reciprocated. The issue we have is that England has never come out to Samoa, Tonga or Fiji. Their argument would be that they’d just like to play the All Blacks every game. Rugby is a business, I understand that, but if we’re going to grow the game we need a fairer share of that revenue that’s being generated by big games like this.’

On November 9th, World Rugby announced details of an increased investment into Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in co-operation with Pacific Rugby Players, the body representing players in the region.

As the Pacific teams tour the northern hemisphere for the November window, World Rugby has confirmed that direct and indirect support for the unions and their national teams is estimated at more than £20 million for the current four-year cycle 2016-19, up 19 per cent.

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Turlough 5 hours ago
Jean de Villiers' three word response to 'best in the world' debate

This ‘raging’ debate is only happenning in media circles and has never been a topic in Ireland (although SA media are interested). It makes the media companies money I guess. SA are RWC champions and #1 ranked team although Ireland are back within a point there. The facts point to SA. For a lot of 2021 France beat ALL their rivals and Ireland similar in 2022-2023. It is not wrong to say that on such form either can be deemed to be the current best team if they have beaten all their rivals and ranked #1. The ‘have to have won a world cup’ stipulation is nonsense. The world cup draw and scheduling has been tailored to the traditional big teams since the start. The scheduling also which sees the big teams sheltered from playing a hard pool match the week before has also been a constant. It is extraordinary that for example France have made so many finals. Ireland who were realistically only contenders in 2023 were in a Pool with two other top 5 teams and had to play one of them 7 days before a quarter final against France or New Zealand. Always going to be a coin toss. Scotland’s situation was worse. New Zealand had great chances in 1995, 1999, 2007 but they could not win a tight RWC match. The first tight match they ever won was versus France in the 2011 final, literally they lost every other tight match before that. Some of those NZ teams around that era were #1 surely?

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