Edinburgh - Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has told his side
to prepare for a typically proud Samoa at Murrayfield on Saturday regardless of
the financial meltdown that has engulfed the Pacific islanders.
This week saw the Samoa Rugby Union declared bankrupt by
chairperson Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao, also the country's prime minister.
"We are bankrupt," Malielegao told the Samoa
Observer as he launched an appeal for public donations.
"It means the union cannot continue to pay off our
debts with the banks. We also need money to pay the players so they can
continue to play," he added ahead of a Samoa tour that also includes a
match against Romania as well as a showpiece Test with England at Twickenham.
England's Rugby Football Union has reportedly agreed a $75 000 goodwill payment with the Samoa Rugby Union ahead of the November 25
match, while the England players selected for that Test are considering whether
to hand over a portion of their match fee.
Meanwhile it is understood the Scottish Rugby Union are
covering Samoa's tour costs while they are in Scotland.
There have long been concerns about how professional rugby
union has exacerbated the wealth gap between the likes of rich nations such as
England and France compared to poorer countries such as Samoa and Fiji.
But former Scotland playmaker Townsend said he hoped a way
could be found to return Samoa to solvency.
"We want every country doing well, especially a nation
like Samoa that has produced so many good rugby players and so many great wins
over the years," he said.
"Let's hope they get through this in a much better
state than they seem to be in right now."
Townsend added: "I believe professional rugby can and
has enhanced opportunities for players in the south seas and the amount of
Fijian players, Tongans and Samoans playing in Europe now at a high level has
really increased over the years.
"The islanders have a real affinity with the game but
their strengths as individuals are brought out.
"They are a huge part of the worldwide game of rugby
and it's a big challenge taking them on this week because we know how proud
they are but also what a good team they are," said Townsend, citing how
Samoa had pushed Scotland desperately close before losing 36-33 in a 2015 World
Cup pool match.
Meanwhile World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said the
global governing body had budgeted about $9.2 million for Samoan rugby between
2015 and 2019, up 30 percent on the previous four-yearly World Cup cycle.
But while mismanagement is an issue, teams such as Samoa
lack the economic clout that comes with the sponsorship opportunities and huge
fan bases enjoyed by larger nations.
Gosper warned redistributing funds in a world where 90
percent of rugby's revenue was generated by the 10 tier one nations was no easy
"It's a fact of life. There's an economic difference in
the unions in some parts of the world versus the unions in other parts of the
world," he said.
"There isn't sufficient money to create the
redistribution that may well lead to an equalisation of pay," the
Australian added. "There are market forces that are very hard to swim
On the field, Edinburgh prop Darryl Marfo is set to make his
international debut in what will be Townsend's first home match as Scotland
Samoa counterpart Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua has included two
debutants in his starting XV - lock Josh Tyrell and prop Donald Brighouse - while
Melani Matavao and AJ Alatimu could win their first caps off the bench in a
team captained by lock Chris Vui.