Samoa and Tonga players are allegedly under pressure from their French Top 14 clubs to miss the World Cup in Japan later this year.
The start of the next Top 14 season is set to coincide with the duration of the World Cup, which starts on 20 September with the final set to be held on 2 November.
World Rugby’s regulation nine states that clubs have to release their players to their respective nations for official Test matches, which includes the World Cup.
However, Samoa coach Steve Jackson has reportedly already had a number of his players tell him that they have had to make themselves unavailable for the showpiece tournament.
‘Players get pressure from clubs and this is their living,’ Jackson told Stuff.co.nz. ‘So what happens is you are tearing a player between their club and country.
‘It’s just not fair on the players to make those decisions. We’d love to have them but there are certain players who won’t be coming to the World Cup, purely because of those reasons.’
The Samoan internationals based in France include Manu Leiataua, Paul Alo-Emile, Piula Faʻasalele, Ed Fidow and Tim Nanai-Williams.
Tonga’s assistant coach Pita Alatini said they are in a similar position, with some of their key players still to make a decision over whether to link up with the squad or not.
‘That’s the challenge we’re always going to have, where players get offered a better contract to stay on, rather than to go to the World Cup,’ Alatini said.
Samoa are in Pool A with hosts Japan as well as Ireland, Scotland and Russia. Tonga are in a tough Pool C with England, France, Argentina and the USA.
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