Re: greedy nh freeloader's idea of sharing
Rather than start a knew thread I've put this here I found this quiet informative .https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/ ... amoa-tonga
"Utopia has never existed in professional rugby union and never will. If there was an easy answer to the issues of Pacific Islands player migration, gross economic inequality and systematic exploitation by agents and clubs, someone would have proposed it by now. But then you listen to the stories of those in this unsustainable triangle and the outcome of Fiji’s visit to Twickenham on Saturday becomes a relative irrelevance.
Last week Sireli Temo, a 30-year-old Fijian loosehead playing for Tarbes in the French third division, took his own life. He had been struggling with injury and illness and had a wife and two children, aged eight and six, in Fiji. A desperately sad, isolated case? Not according to Dan Leo, the former Samoa international now working to improve Pacific Islands players’ welfare in Europe. “We’ve got very high suicide rates in the islands,” Leo says. “There’s a lot more pressure on our players than your average Australia or England player.”
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Leo has also been gathering some starkly telling statistics. There are 72 Pacific Islands players playing either in the Premiership or for last season’s relegated side London Irish. There are more than 100 others at Championship level or below. “If you also count France, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, you’re looking at 600‑700 Pacific Islands players whose sole purpose for being here is professional rugby,” Leo says.
Since the former London Irish forward moved to the UK a decade ago he estimates the number of players with Pacific Islands heritage has doubled. They now make up 18% of the world’s leading professional teams. In the National Rugby League in Australia that figure is 35%, up from 5% 20 years ago. The natural talent in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga is spectacular but Leo is hearing increasing tales of woe. “Some of the guys I’ve been in contact with send 75% of their salaries back home. One guy is supporting over 100 people on one salary. That’s a lot of pressure. If he gets an injury or experiences a loss of form he doesn’t get a contract.”
How does all this impact on the massively wealthy Rugby Football Union and its national team, whose home games generate millions and whose players now earn around £22,000 per game? For Ian Ritchie, the RFU’s chief executive, to pronounce that “it’s not the RFU’s responsibility to fund world rugby” was technically correct but also insensitive in the week England picked three new caps with strong Pacific Islands connections. Saturday’s Test between France and Australia will see four Fiji-born wings, plus one more on the bench. England, furthermore, have not played in Fiji since 1991. “We need the bigger unions like England to stand up for us,” Leo says. “Doing so would generate a real feelgood factor in rugby, which sells itself. It’s not always the amount of money you invest that gets the best results.”
In Fiji they have their own phrase for greedy types who “suck too hard on the sugar cane”. No one disputes World Rugby does good work in terms of funding coaching and development programmes on the islands but unfairness remains. “I get frustrated with World Rugby,” Leo says. “They do a lot of good stuff but look at the amounts of money they’re pouring into expanding the horizons of the world game. There are all sorts of issues that need to be confronted before we start saying: ‘We’re the best sport in the world, let’s go to Brazil and China.’”
It would clearly help if the three-year eligibility requirement were to be tightened up. Leo has no beef with expats like Nathan Hughes or Ben Te’o – “We understand those guys will be able to look after their families a lot better by making that decision” – but believes it would be even more beneficial for tier two nations if, for example, a former All Black like Sam Tuitupou could be eligible for Samoa after a three-year stand-down period. “It would help the Pacific Islands more than increasing the eligibility timeframe,” Leo says. “Automatically there would be six or seven players who could come into each side and give us a real lift.”
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The proposed island-based Super Rugby franchise being floated by Fiji’s Olympic sevens-winning coach Ben Ryan would be more valuable still, offering a reason for players to stay at home and bolstering the game of 15s in sevens-mad Fiji and Samoa. “We’re at a crossroads because we’re probably not big enough unions to be able to take both sevens and 15s seriously,” Leo says.
If a wrong turn is taken now and the young talent of the Pacific Islands continues to be preyed on by unscrupulous agents, the whole international game will suffer. “If you go to the Pacific Islands and offer someone even £1,000 a month they’re going to take that because it sounds like a lot of money,” Leo says. “In the islands we don’t have mortgages. There is no such word in our languages for ‘inheritance’. If you don’t have enough you can go fishing.”
Leo’s dearest wish is to change attitudes on both sides and “to help Pacific Islanders deal with the pressure that has mounted on us”. He also talks persuasively of the cultural differences that can make it hard for players coming straight from the islands to integrate in Europe. Looking someone in the eye or talking to one’s elders implies a lack of respect in Fiji and Samoa; British coaches often assume it is a lack of engagement. Even nicknames are an alien concept, as are individual awards. “In my 49 Tests for Samoa never once did we have a man of the match award given out,” Leo says. “To promote someone above the rest of the group was seen as a real no-no.”
So as you watch Fiji entertaining a sold-out Twickenham, spare a thought for all the sport’s have-nots, not least the family of Sireli Temo. “It’s like an onion,” Leo says. “You keep peeling back more and more layers and you never get to the bottom of it.” More power to him and all those involved in assisting those in need. Certain others in world rugby, meanwhile, should re-examine their consciences."