Strike threat was to save Samoan rugby

Date published: November 25 2014

Amidst the recent revelations that Samoa could be denied the Test against the All Blacks next year, Dan Leo has come forward to defend their strike decision.

Recently, it emerged that Samoa were threatening to boycott their upcoming game against England on 22nd November at Twickenham Stadium. Financial concerns, transparency and governance have all been cited as reasons for the strike, but the team’s lock has also blamed the strike on the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele.

Sailele is currently chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union and has dubbed the Samoan team “spoilt children” in light of their recent strike threats.

Last Saturday, officials from the Samoa Union were invited to talks in Vannes, but did not show. The meeting was attended by the International Rugby Board as well as representatives from the International Players’ Association, and doubtless would have been a good platform for representatives from the SU to put their point across.

But despite fears that Samoa’s potential boycott of the forthcoming match could ‘kill’ Samoan rugby, Leo has hit back at critics and said the decision was made to save the sport.

Leo has told fans that the recent conflicts have been “very difficult to deal with.”

“This has all weighed heavily on us all. We woke to those comments [by the prime minister] on Friday, which appeared to be dismissive of all our concerns,” he said.

We know that our results on the field will help our cause somewhat by proving our commitment. We don’t want to get drawn into a slanging match.”

It’s a promise that Leo will have to live up to come Saturday, as Samoa have now confirmed that they will be attending the match “with pride.” Naturally, with the threats to cancel their upcoming games against the All Blacks, plus the little support of their prime minister, low morale