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'Humbled' Samoan players left to rely on public donations to attend Rugby World Cup

Samoa captain Chris Vui and teammate Jack Lam have thanked the Samoan public for donating and raising funds so that the players can go to the Rugby World Cup.

Vui said he was “extremely humbled” on Twitter by the generosity of his supporters, as Samoa prepare for the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September with the Pacific Nations Cup.

Lam, who played alongside Vui last season under his cousin Pat at the Bristol Bears, also showed his appreciation on Twitter, but highlighted the reality of the situation.

He said: “My wish is one day we won’t have to depend on the generosity of our people to get us to the World Cup or pay our players and have to make tough decisions like choosing between country and club.”

This is one of the biggest problems Pacific Island nations face at the moment, as more and more players are opting for club over country. Only yesterday Joe Tekori retired from international rugby in favour of staying with Top 14 champions Toulouse.

While the towering lock did not explicitly say why he had opted to retire, it could be financially motivated. Then again, at the age of 35, there is nothing wrong with that, as this is ultimately his profession and it is finite. It is unknown how much longer his career will last, and he will want to earn as much as he can, as would most people in any job.

It is also understandable why a growing number of Pacific Island players opt to play for other countries, given the vast sums that international players can earn in the northern hemisphere.
Lam has highlighted one of the biggest problems that rugby faces currently, and one that does not have a simple solution.

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'Humbled' Samoan players left to rely on public donations to attend Rugby World Cup