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Enormous reaction to compelling new documentary highlighting exploitation of Pacific Island players

By Josh Raisey
The Wallabies win a lineout against Samoa in Sydney. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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A documentary produced by Pacific Rugby Welfare Dan Leo investigating the state of rugby in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji has evoked an enormous reaction online and inspired a call for change in how the game is governed by World Rugby.


Oceans Apart: Greed, Betrayal and Pacific Rugby – a production that was three years in the making – takes aim at World Rugby, highlighting the injustices that exist in the game and the exploitation of Pacific Island players. It also exposed the scandals and corruption that officials in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have been involved in. 

A former Samoan forward, Leo also recounted his own experiences as a player and how his international career was terminated in 2014 after he spoke out about the treatment of Pacific Island teams in the lead-up to a fixture with England at Twickenham. 

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RugbyPass goes behind the scenes with Tonga prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup

His documentary interview with Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, the Samoan prime minister and rugby chairman, was fraught with danger given the personal threats he had received after speaking out in the past.

Since the documentary’s release earlier this week there has been an overwhelming response online and Leo has been widely praised for bringing to light so many of these issues.

Whether it is players having dual nationality, a fairer share of money or a change in the voting system for the World Rugby council, the documentary intensified the calls for change regarding how the sport is governed. The response amongst the playing community has been significant as well, with players from all over the world showing their support. 


Tonga and Stade Francais full-back Telusa Veainu thanked Leo for “exposing our struggle”, while ex-England captain Dylan Hartley said, “Someone with position, power, a half-decent moral compass needs to watch”.  

Although Leo’s ex-Wasps teammate James Haskell said in the documentary that “everybody puts their hand up and says they are going to do good stuff and then nothing happens because nobody does anything about it”, the response to this film so far has suggested that the PRPW’s cries are starting to be heard. 


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Enormous reaction to compelling new documentary highlighting exploitation of Pacific Island players