Rugby World Cup 2011

Donations pay mouthguard fine

2011-09-30 09:32
Alesana Tuilagi (File)

Auckland - A heavy sanction against a Samoa player for wearing a branded mouthguard at the Rugby World Cup has galvanised critics of the $10 000 fine.

The unapproved mouthguard worn by winger Alesana Tuilagi in Samoa's 27-7 win over Fiji last weekend broke sponsorship rules of the International Rugby Board.

The fine was revealed by Tuilagi's teammate Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu on Twitter.

John Campbell, host of the "Campbell Live" current affairs programme on New Zealand television, called for public donations to help Samoa pay the fine. He organised a sausage sizzle at an Auckland restaurant on Friday.

"So England swap the ball for conversions and the IRB does nothing. Samoa wear the wrong brand of mouthguard and get fined 10k. Incredible," tweeted Campbell.

The IRB said Samoa's fine and England's warning for ball tampering could not be compared.

The Samoans were fined, without recourse for appeal, for breaching guidelines on kits and equipment after warnings going back two years. The IRB guidelines for the tournament are similar to those imposed at the Olympics and by FIFA at the Soccer World Cup.

Other teams have been fined and warned in this tournament for commercial breaches, but none of have been made public because they're considered contract issues.

The England case was considered a matter of misconduct that would have gone to a disciplinary hearing if Cup organizers hadn't accepted the RFU's self-imposed one-match ban for two of England's specialist coaches, who switched match balls before conversion attempts during the Pool B match against Romania.

The Samoans still weren't impressed.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who previously landed in hot water for his tweets went at it once again.

"(Sic) You think the fact players are wearing mouth guards protecting themselves would outweigh exclusive deals to make more money," read one of his tweets.

"(Sic) Commercialisation has unfortunately overcome all reason and rationale. $$$ first, player welfare last." another tweet read.


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