Tuesday 24 September 2019

Samoa adamant they never wanted handouts after England players vote against donating part of match fee

Chris Vui of North Harbour looks on during the round one Mitre 10 Cup match between North Harbour and Counties Manukau at QBE Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)
Chris Vui of North Harbour looks on during the round one Mitre 10 Cup match between North Harbour and Counties Manukau at QBE Stadium on August 18, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Daniel Schofield

Samoa captain Chris Vui is adamant his team never wanted any handouts after England’s players decided against donating part of their match fee towards their opponents on Saturday.

England prop Mako Vunipola had suggested giving a portion of their £22,000 individual fee towards Samoa’s players, who will earn £650 from the game at Twickenham.

The idea initially received widespread support within the squad, however the senior player group decided that a donation could have inflamed a delicate stand-off between the Samoa Rugby Union and World Rugby.

Dan Cole, the tighthead prop, also suggested that making a donation could have led to questions about the integrity of the fixture. With the SRU chairman and country’s prime minister declaring the union bankrupt, there remains a fundraising campaign in place on behalf of Samoa’s players.

Despite their dire financial situation, Vui, a second row who is one of four Bristol players starting against England, says that they are seeking neither pity nor charity. “It’s important we don't get that because we are here to play rugby,” he said. “We don’t want the Dan Coles to have to help.

“I think they (England) care. We are solely here to play rugby. It's not their problem to have to give us money. It's not their fault at all.

“They get a good pay package and that’s a reward for England rugby players. We play rugby and we are two different organisations. There is a big gap but hopefully that gap between pay packets will even out in the future.”

The Bristol contingent is completed by centre Alapati Leiua, wing David Lemi and No 8 Jack Lam while there are further Premiership representatives in the form of Northampton full-back Ahsee Tuala and Sale flanker TJ Ioane.

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There are three changes in total from the side that lost 17-13 to Romania last week, their sixth straight loss in 2017, and Vui is determined to finish a difficult year on a high.

“Against England, one of the best teams in the world, it will be huge to get a good performance,” Vui said. “It is a chance to bring pride back to that blue jersey.

“We will try be physical. We will just play our own game and play rugby a bit Samoan style. They are a really structured team and in the last few games they have scored off set piece. It would be good if we can disrupt their set piece and kill the speed of their rucks.”

There was one piece of good news this week as Blue Sky, a telephone company, came on board as a sponsor committing four million tala (about £1.3 million) over four years. Beat England on Saturday and Titimaea Tafua, the head coach, says there will be more sponsors knocking on their door.

“For sure,” Tafua said. “Our results are not that good so we are trying our best to get back there. We will struggle to get sponsors if the team is not good and performances are not good. If we perform well and get results then the sponsors will come. We want to get back the winning culture to our team.”

Telegraph.co.uk

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