28 Nov 2012

Sport: Mannix backtracks on Racing Metro claims

11:42 am on 28 November 2012

The former All Black Simon Mannix has backtracked on comments he allegedly made that Fijian players at French club Racing Metro were paid to be unavailable for last year's Rugby World Cup.

Mannix had claimed that Racing made payments to encourage Sireli Bobo, Jone Qovu, Josh Matavesi and Virimi Vakatawa to be unavailable for the 2011 Pacific Nations Cup, effectively ruling themselves out of World Cup selection.

But in a statement to AFP, Mannix claimed that the comments made by him on the IRB "Total Rugby" show had been distorted.

The Munster backs' coach says all he meant was that if the club had wanted to, they could have easily compensated the Fijians and presented a cheque to those who did not wish to participate in the World Cup.

Meanwhile the Racing Metro president Jacky Lorenzetti has strenuously denied the French club tried to prevent Fiji players from competing in last year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

In an letter to fans that was published on the club's website, Lorenzetti says the selection of one of their players in a national team is a cause for pride and honour.

Lorenzetti also argued that the best proof of their innocence is that centre Albert Vulivuli, another Fijian playing for Racing, did take part in the last World Cup.