No Samoa tweet ban

2011-09-23 09:51

Auckland - Samoa said they had stopped short of banning players from using Twitter despite the row caused by a team member who compared the Rugby World Cup schedule to slavery, the holocaust and apartheid.

Assistant coach Tom Coventry said Samoa preferred not to "gag" players even after this week's incident, when centre Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono had to make an official apology to World Cup officials.

"We try not to gag anyone. Obviously guys have their opinions and we want them to have their opinions, it's just how they express them and some of the language they use when they are expressing themselves," Coventry said.

"I suppose he had an issue but it's just some of the words he used in his message. I think he used the word 'holocaust' and things like that, you've just got to be careful."

Sapolu Fuimaono sent out the controversial tweet after Samoa's Pool D defeat to Wales, blaming a schedule which often gives smaller countries fewer days off between games.

"Ok, it's obvious the IRB are unjust. Wales get 7 days, we get 3. Unfair treatment, like slavery, like the holocaust, like apartheid," he wrote.

The player was let off with a warning by the International Rugby Board (IRB) after a meeting with tournament officials.

"I think if he thought back about it he would have regretted some of the things he said but that's social media isn't it? That's how it works," Coventry said.

"You text something and it's gone before you think, 'I shouldn't have said that'. And the whole world can see it."

Samoa's approach contrasts with that of New Zealand, who have banned their players from using Twitter throughout the seven-week World Cup.

In May, Australia winger Digby Ioane was fined A$2 000 after he tweeted that match official Keith Brown was the "worst ref ever" after a Super Rugby game.

Coventry said the IRB had warned teams about the dangers of social media as far back as the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) in July.

"It's been advised by the IRB to all the teams to be careful on social media. That was brought up a couple of months ago during the PNC. I think there have been a couple of issues with other players from other teams," Coventry said.

"He (Sapulo Fuimaono) wasn't speaking for Manu Samoa, he was speaking as Eliota. We were as surprised as anyone at the comments. This is what happens with these young guys and social media they just need to be careful," he added.

"Sometimes the emotion gets to them and they need to be careful."

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  • Barry O - 2011-09-23 10:32

    Really silly for a professional rugby player to have tweeted something like this! Can’t compare a rugby schedule to any of those things! Just as a point , and I'm really not wanting to open a whole can of worms or come across in any way like I'm justifying, supporting or downplaying apartheid, but I really don’t think that you can compare apartheid with the Holocaust! The Holocaust is truly in a league of its own in terms of the evils of humanity... 11 million people were killed in the concentration camps of the Holocaust.

      colin - 2011-09-23 11:24

      Always find it strange that apartheid are put in 2nd place when people compares it to the Holocaust - my view is that it is worst killing a nation or a people by denying him to develop to its full potential - the worst effect of apartheid was not the killings but the imperialistic limitation and contraction of a people to advance on a social and educational level - many Jews all over the world were given and offered the opportunity to start over and to develop to there full potential without any constrains and in contrast to apartheid were those constrains and it effects still do exist.

      Delacruise01 - 2011-09-23 13:28

      @Colin, @barry and Sapolu Fuimaono. If you want talk rugby, lets talk. If you want to talk politics join a political party.

  • Just A Guy - 2011-09-23 11:36

    Why can't they express their feelings. If I did a bad job I'm sure I would hear about it from the people it effected. Everyone's too sensitive these days!

  • Brevan - 2011-09-23 13:18

    I think he is a moron. I'm not sure if it was intentional that the top teams got a better draw or not, but in sport that is generally how it is. The top seeds, get the better end of the draw.In the English FA cup (and lots of other tournaments), the top teams get a bye in the first 2 rounds. In F1 you have qualifying to get to the front of the grid, but the winner of the championship gets first pick on the pit lane positions in the following seaosn. In cycling the top seeds get to start at the front of the pack etc. It's reward for being the best performers over time. What they should be concentrating on is taking advantage and work hard to move up the rankings when the top teams are rebuilding in the years directly after world cups .That's when the top teams don't bother too much with the results. If they can't take advantage of the top teams during that time, then no amount of rest will help them in a world cup tournament.

  • Lida - 2011-09-23 16:01

    It is true that the minnows get a raw deal. They should have the same treatment as the bigger teams. I hope the IRB improves with the next world cup

      OZNOB - 2011-09-24 00:00

      TRUE though trying to organise a tournament of any size all over the country can be and is a logistical nightmare of note and in my humble opinion it is very much like diplomacy as it leaves everyone unhappy as no one gets what they really want

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