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England not playing in Pacific Islands 'embarrassing and wrong' - Sir Clive Woodward

By RugbyPass
Sir Clive Woodward

Former World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward has blasted the RFU for being part of the financial problem affecting Pacific Island rugby.

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In his column for the Daily Mail, Woodward says that ‘any solution will probably cost tens of millions of pounds, not the £1.5 million annual grant World Rugby give Samoa.’

He went on to say that ‘island teams need more Tests at home against the bigger teams, where they are potentially much more competitive. So the big tier-one nations must take the generous loss-leader approach.

It’s certainly high time England, for one, went down there — they have yet to play a Test in the Pacific Islands in the professional era, which is embarrassing and wrong.’

Woodward also suggests that rugby look at football to emulate a fairer profit sharing system. In the FA Cup, smaller teams share gate revenue when drawn against larger clubs, something that is nonexistent in international rugby.

‘In the FA Cup the minnows are acknowledged as an essential part of that tournament. Everybody accepts that the pay day they receive when they play away to a big club helps sustain them — and the enduring value of the competition.’

Woodward’s comments come hard on the heels of the much-publicised chasm in earnings in the last Manu Samoa v England test at Twickenham. Meanwhile, former All Blacks Charles Piutau and Frank Halai have voiced their intention to play for Tonga at the next Rugby World Cup.

READ MORE:

More former All Blacks call for Pacific Island eligibility rule change

Tongan revolution continues – world’s highest paid player in sights for World Cup

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Turlough 4 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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