Samoa warned over tweet

2011-09-20 12:47

Auckland - Samoa apologised and received a warning on Tuesday after a player compared the Rugby World Cup to "slavery" and "apartheid", escalating a row over the tournament's schedule.

Samoan team representatives made the formal apology at a meeting with World Cup officials after centre Eliota Sapolu Fuimaono made the angry comments on Twitter after their loss to Wales.

Organisers called the remarks "inappropriate" but said there would be no sanctions against Samoa, one of several smaller teams who have voiced concerns about the time-tabling of matches.

"While RWCL (Rugby World Cup Limited) believes the nature of the comments to be inappropriate and has warned the Samoa Rugby Union regarding future social media conduct, RWCL has accepted an official apology and is satisfied with the proactive measures that the Union has outlined to RWCL to address the matter," a statement said.

"There will be no further action and RWCL considers the matter to be closed."

Sapolu Fuimaono had been facing possible disciplinary action over his outburst over a timetable which gives the traditionally stronger teams longer intervals between games to maximise weekend TV audiences.

The Gloucester player was incensed that Samoa had just three days to recover from their previous game while Wales had a week. Samoa led 10-6 at half-time but faded in the second half as Wales won 17-10 on Sunday.

"IRB, Stop exploiting my people. Please, all we ask, is fairness. If they get a week, give us a week. Simple. #equ[al]ity #justice," Sapolu Fuimaono tweeted, referring to the International Rugby Board.

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

"Give Wales 3 days off and give Samoa a week! We would kill them!

"You can't get punished for speaking out against injustice. That would be unjust. Anyone can tackle a man. Try tackling injustice."

The IRB had earlier defended its scheduling and said the Twitter tirade was disappointing.

The row overshadowed Italy's bonus-point 53-17 victory over Russia which kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals from Pool C, which also brackets Australia and Ireland.

The Italians romped home with nine tries but debutants Russia also celebrated their first ever World Cup tries through Alexander Yanyushkin, Vladimir Ostroushko and Alexey Makovetskiy.

"We started the game very well, the first half I was very happy with," said Italy's South African coach, Nick Mallet.

"And then we got a bit loose and I made a lot of changes. But give them credit, they played some very nice, attacking rugby, held on to the ball and ran at us."

Fiji flank Dominiko Waqaniburotu became the second player to be suspended when he received a three-week ban for a dangerous tip-tackle - ruling him out of the remaining pool games and a possible quarter-final.

England lock Courtney Lawes earlier received a two-match ban while USA captain Todd Clever escaped sanction for a dangerous tackle.

But off-field issues dominated as a Maori leader maintained that New Zealand's iconic haka war-dance had been "hijacked by rugby people" and backed controversial comments from South Africa coach Peter de Villiers that it was over-exposed.

"I'm concerned our culture is being abused by the overuse and inappropriateness of the haka when it is performed outside special occasions," Peter Love, trustee of an organisation which administers Maori reserves, told Fairfax media.

"The haka in our culture is something which is regarded as special and should not be bastardised by sport. Peter de Villiers is dead right when he says it is losing its respect."

Separately, a Scottish bagpiper launched a Facebook campaign to overturn a stadium ban on the traditional instruments, complaining that overzealous officials were ruining the tournament's atmosphere.

"After spending considerable money getting to New Zealand to support my country I was shocked to hear bagpipes were not allowed in the stadiums," bagpiper Matt Strachan told The Scotsman newspaper.


  • Kyle - 2011-09-20 13:20

    sticking it to the man haha

  • TK - 2011-09-20 13:27

    While the content of the Tweet was over the top, I have understanding for the smaller nations' frustration. If Samoa would have had the same recovery time as Wales, they would probably have won. RWC should do the same as Soccer WC in that the match schedule is decided before one team has qualified for the tournament and all places in each pool should be done purely by lucky draw. Then all teams are treated equally.

      lenand40 - 2011-09-20 13:39

      Soccer is global sport, rugby is not, so one needs to understand the pandering to the broadcaster, but Samoa is totally justified. Playing rugby in NZ means rest of the world gets to watch the match in the morning, meaning that watching at 8am in the office is counter productive and may kill the world cup outside of Europe

      Shnez - 2011-09-20 14:38

      @Lenand40, I suppose the must call it the " Rugby Non-World cup" as Global nations do not compete in it at all from different continents around the world?

      Taurus 11 - 2011-09-20 15:14

      Lenand40 When the Soccer World cup was played in Korea/Japan Europe and Africa had to watch in the morning and Americas late at night. Oh how can you say that Rugby is not a global sport From Japan in the esat to America in the west rugby is played @ Shnez tell me which continent plays soccer and not rugby

      Laurie - 2011-09-20 15:17

      The simple reality (much like cricket) is that the gap between the top eight (or nine or maybe ten) teams is so vast that the balance of the participants should not even be there! The tournament has been expanded to create more of a spectacle, but half the games are of absolutely no consequence and the top teams merely have to go through the motions in order to get to the business end of the tournament. It would make far more sense, just like in cricket, that the second tier teams play a preliminary competition (part of the world cup) and, say, the top two then progress to the next round - much like the European Champions League in soccer. The soccer world cup can justify a far bigger representation because of a greater number of better matched teams. Having more than 12 teams at this stage in the rugby world cup seems to be frustrating the weaker teams.

      Sapientia - 2011-09-20 16:17

      @Shnez; you're showing your ignorance, pal! What you're watching over these six weeks are, in fact, the Rugby World Cup FINALS, starting with the match between NZ and Tonga on September 9th. This Rugby World Cup actually STARTED in Grand Cayman on 20th April 2008 and involved 80 nations, across five continents, and comprised 184 matches.

  • Streuth - 2011-09-20 13:39

    I think Samoa definately wouldve won if theyd had 7 days to recover. They lost their 1st choice 5/8 and 6, if theyd been able to recover it wouldve made a huge difference as their repacement 10 was a liability, gave away 2 penalties and couldnt start a backline movement to save himself.

      Redobserver - 2011-09-20 15:49

      Wales played South Africa ,Samoa played Namibia, get over it ,the better team won.

  • Zion - 2011-09-20 14:04

    I fully believe that all teams mus be treated exactly the same. What apploies to the one must apply to the other irrespective of seedingor ranking or any other factors. It seems as if the weaker teams have been purposely prejudiced only in the interests of money alone. It also appears from the article that the IRU is too eager to have as little publicity as possible.

  • JohnnyOzzy16 - 2011-09-20 14:08

    I don't think he has an idea what he said... People actually died the holocaust and apartheid. I think he should get stricter punishment for saying that. Stephan Terblanche got knocked in Aus $ for his tweet.

      Skietlood - 2011-09-20 16:34

      get your facts straight. Apartheid self never killed anyone. People who tried to murder innocent people during "apartheid" got killed! Those who lived a descent life never got killed.

  • Lida - 2011-09-20 14:42

    He Zion I agree with U. All nations should be handled equal. He was over the top with his tirade and got negative response because of it. Handle it better the next time

  • wozlocksley - 2011-09-20 15:27

    pdv is right about the haka being over-used and losing its appeal. nice to hear that a maori leader had backed pdv as well. however, once all others have been knocked out, and the abs do the haka against the boks in the semis - then it will be truly appreciated by the world again. they always save their "cut throat" haka for the boks. some may say im getting ahead of myself, and it could be that i am, but my money says it will be abs vs boks in the semis. it will be a game for the ages. said it before and will say it again - winner of that game wins the cup.

  • Neilson - 2011-09-20 21:43

    What do the islander know about Apartheid, slavery or about the holocaust? Maybe a bit on cannibalism, and they were not on the receiving end.

  • Streuth - 2011-09-21 02:22

    Redobserver, You have missed the point completely. No one is complaining about the opposition, (as everyone will play eachother in the pool). They were complaining about the short turnaround which did not allow the Samoans to recover from their injuries and therefore prevented them fielding their best team. That is the point.

  • Kevin Rack - 2011-09-21 05:53

    RWC is a joke. Every time we see poor reffing and poor treatment of the smaller nations. Last RWC England would not release Samoan players to play. Crap small minded mentality of the Anglophile dogs that run the IRB. Rugby could be a world sport. Well done to South Africa for giving Samoa gate taking from a local test, including Namibia and Argetina team in our leagues.

  • Gibbonater - 2011-09-21 08:52

    Let a white guy have said this and he would have been kicked out of the world cup. But once again a darkie can say what he likes and everyone is expected tp keep quiet.

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