Samoa PM slams ‘childish’ players

Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele says the national team must decide whether they want to play for money or country.

Earlier this week, the players threatened to go on strike, saying they were not getting enough money. The strike was averted when the IRB intervened to set up talks between the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) and the International Rugby Players' Association to facilitate an urgent and collaborative resolution.

Senior Samoan players recently contacted the IRB via a letter which explains the grievances. Included in the letter are alleged concerns over a lack of financial transparency within the SRU, players being expected to pay air fares, coaches being denied a complete rein on selection and their team lineup being announced on social media websites before players are even notified.

In an agitated national broadcast Sailele, who is also chairman of the SRU, slammed the players.

'If they don't want to play, then don't come. There are many players here who are looking for an opportunity,' he said.

'The players play and deliver good results. The union provides the funding. If money is more important to some players than playing for their country, then they should let the union know.'

Sailele said the threat to go on strike was childish and referred to the players as 'little kids'.

Samoa lost 24-13 to Italy last weekend, which saw them slip to 11th in the IRB rankings. They play Canada this Friday and England at Twickenham next Saturday.

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Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP Photo

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