After it has been alleged that Samoan and Tongan players have been pressured into missing the World Cup this year in order to remain with their clubs in France’s Top 14, there has been a backlash from fans on Twitter.
For Pacific Island players, the majority of their income comes from playing for their clubs, usually in France, meaning it is easier for the owners and senior figures to coerce players into avoiding the tournament which could occupy the first three months of the season for some players.
However, many fans have taken to Twitter calling for action to be taken by World Rugby to avoid this happening. This is something that has happened every World Cup, and in order for the competition to develop, the Tier Two teams need to field their best teams. However, this is just not possible if the European clubs keep hold of some players from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji.
Already this year, star Fijian players Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa, both of whom play for Montpellier, announced their retirement from international rugby, meaning they remain with their clubs. At only 31 years of age, Nadolo would have been a great asset to Fiji, as the 20 stone winger has been one of Europe’s most deadly players over the past few seasons.
Compared to Samoa and Tonga, Fiji perhaps slightly more strength in depth, meaning the loss of a few players may not affect the team too severely. However, if the other two were to lose some of their star players, it could have catastrophic consequences for their performance.
Former Samoa internationals Dan Leo and Junior Poluleuligaga have also voiced their opinion, with Poluleuligaga describing the state of affairs as “deja vu”. During their careers, they may have encountered these pressures, particularly as more money is pumped into the game.
This is what has been said:
Yep, Same old aye uso.
— Daniel Leo (@danleo82) June 16, 2019
Ridiculous!!! Where's @WorldRugby in all this madness?? These Frenchies must be put in their place!
— Malcolm Molver (@MalcolmMolver) June 17, 2019
Disgusting @WorldRugby sort it out.
— Jason Mc Nelis (@JasonRMcNelis) June 17, 2019
— Niall Collins (@Colliniho) June 16, 2019
Now that's really unfair isn't it!@WorldRugby DO SOMETHING!? Oh wait…y'all don't care. Smh
— ??Thembileh BlackPearl?? (@BlackFireFly892) June 17, 2019
— Rugby and stuff… (@IBloodyLuvRugby) June 16, 2019
This is a reoccurring issue from past World Cups which would have an impact of the integrity of #RWC2019 if some nations do not have access to their players. This may not affect Tier 1 Nations however will to lower tiers. @WorldRugby @IntRugbyPlayers please address this issue https://t.co/E67djuWn4u
— Fosi Pala'amo (@PALAAF) June 16, 2019
Disgusting and disrespectful.. every sportsperson at any sport should be able to represent their country at the highest level.. n you can't get any higher than the World Cup Finals #respect https://t.co/hK0cUSZdOQ
— Andy ?? (@andyturton70) June 16, 2019
It's fair enough if clubs decide against signing players as they may be unavailable for a significant part of the season. But to sign a player knowing their international status and then basically blackmail players to give it up is disgusting. https://t.co/UFbFyI3rbA
— Colin McBride (@colin_a_mcbride) June 16, 2019
— Phil J (@PhilJ0606) June 16, 2019
World Rugby has already come under fire this year over their treatment of the Pacific nations with their proposal of Nations League. Therefore, to prevent further maltreatment of these players, fans are calling for World Rugby to intervene.
Of course, this leaves many players in an awkward position whereby they must choose between representing their country and earning enough money, and there are not any measures to alleviate this problem. But that does not stop this from being something that has concerned fans for a long time.
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