25 Aug 2011

Critical of IRB, Samoa PM pushes for change

2:52 pm on 25 August 2011

The prime minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, wants changes in the International Rugby Board.

Tuilaepa, who's also the head of the Samoa rugby union, says for a long time the IRB hasn't been representative of the needs of the wider rugby world.

While cashed-up Tier One rugby nations have poured tens of millions of dollars into preparing their rugby sides for next month's World Cup, small rugby nations like Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are struggling.

He says Samoa has had to try and raise money by virtually begging for support.

Tuilaepa is critical of European nations keeping all the gate takings when Pacific teams play there and attacks the concentration of IRB voting power in Britain.

He wants Pacific Islands players no longer wanted by the larger nations to be eligible for the island countries.

Tuilaepa has welcomed the IRB funded High Performance Unit in Tuanaimato, which opened last Friday, but says there's no point in developing rugby talent if there's no way they can earn an income from playing rugby.