Financial problems and talent drain have led to claims of exploitation
The debt that rugby owes to the Pacific Islands is enormous. A fifth of players at the last World Cup were either born or descended from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, whose combined population is little over a million – roughly the equivalent of Birmingham. It is a debt that remains shamefully unpaid.
“We have been completely and purposefully exploited by this game, which is supposed to preach fairness and fair play,” said Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, the former Samoa centre who is also a qualified solicitor. “This game is an instrument of fraud.”