Pacific nations call for action on rugby league pay gap

first_imgThe lead-in to the World Cup has been dominated by some high profile names forgoing the chance to play for the Kiwis and Kangaroos, instead choosing to represent their Pacific heritage.Toa Samoa coach Matt Parish believes this will be the most competitive World Cup yet but said the Rugby League International Federation needs to take the lead in addressing the financial disparity between the haves and have-nots.”They need to have some spine and make sure that every team in the tournament gets the same amount of money, then we will see a much evener contest,” he said.”At the moment when you’ve got three teams getting $20,000 a game and the rest of us getting pittance it’s very unfair and very uneven but if you pay everyone the same amount of money then let the players choose who they want to play for I can tell you then it will be a lot different story”.”The thing about our team is they don’t play for money because they don’t get any and that’s the whole thing and it’s admirable but why should they get none when other teams are getting more.”It’s just such an uneven playing field at the moment and I think it’s grossly unfair and until someone does something about it it’s going to continue to do that”.Tonga have been the talk of the last few weeks, since Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita opted to switch allegiance from New Zealand and Australia at the 11th hour, and were quickly joined by the likes of Manu Ma’u, Sio Siua Taukieaho and David Fusitu’a.But coach Kristian Woolf argued that the playing ground remained far from even.”It’s something that has to be looked at and there has to be some sort of move or change there, that’s for sure, to improve things,” he said.”Where that comes from I don’t know because I’m not sure what pool is available there – the NRL fund Australia and New Zealand, I’m not sure what sort of pool is available there – or whether the International Rugby League (Federation) needs to take up some of the slack.””It’s certainly something that needs to be looked at and there’s obviously been a fair bit made of the fact some guys chose to play for us, as opposed to some of the bigger nations.”The sacrifice that those guys have made is enormous – something that most people just wouldn’t do, to be frank, and I think if there was a lot more even ground there then you’d see a lot more of those decisions made,” reflected Woolf.”While for some people that would be controversial – and some people certainly found negatives in it – I think for the good of the international game we want competitive teams and we want the best talent to be spread around those nations, as opposed to all playing for one or two.”That’s how I think we help to grow the game and that can only be positive for the game”.Pacific team name strong line-ups for opening roundTeams for the opening round of matches have been revealed, with all of Tonga’s big-names included and Samoa selecting a monster pack to take on New Zealand.Jason Taumalolo, Andrew Fifita and Michael Jennings will all start for Mate Ma’a Tonga against Scotland on Sunday, while Konrad Hurrell to make his long-awaited debut in the centres.Toa Samoa captain Frank Pritchard is joined in the back row by former Australia international Josh Papalii for their clash against New Zealand on Saturday night, while fullback Young Tonumaipea is selected for his first test appearance in three years.Jarryd Hayne slots in at standoff for Fiji’s World Cup opener against the United States with Akuila Uate in the centres and front-rower Ashton Sims to make his first test appearance since 2014.Meanwhile David Mead will captain Papua New Guinea from fullback in their tournament opener against Wales in Port Moresby.Kato Ottio and Nene MacDonald also return in the centres, after missing the Pacific Test in May, while former captain Paul Aiton will make his first Kumuls appearance since the 2013 World Cup in the back row. Papua New Guinea squad:David Mead (c), Justin Olam, Kato Ottio, Nene Macdonald, Garry Lo, Ase Boas, Watson Boas, Stanton Albert, Wartovo Puara, Luke Page, Rhyse Martin, Rod Griffin, Paul Aiton. Interchange: Kurt Baptiste, Willie Minoga, James Segeyaro, Enock Maki. Reserves: Lachlan Lam, Stargroth Amean, Wellington Albert, Moses Meninga.Samoa squad:Young Tonumaipea, Peter Mata’utia, Timoteo Lafai, Joseph Leilua, Ken Maumalo, Joseph Paulo, Ben Roberts, Junior Paulo, Jazz Tevaga, Sam Lisone, Joshua Papalii, Frank Pritchard (c), Leeson Ah Mau. Interchange: Pita Godinet, Herman Ese’ese, Suaia Matagi, Bunty Afoa. Reserves: Zane Musgrove, Ricky Leutele, Frank Winterstein, Fa’amanu BrownFiji squad:Kevin Naiqama (c), Suliasi Vunivalu, Taane Milne, Akuila Uate, Marcelo Montoya, Jarryd Hayne, Henry Raiwalui, Ashton Sims, Apisai Koroisau, Kane Evans, Viliame Kikau, Korbin Sims, Tui Kamikamica. Interchange: Joe Lovodua, Jacob Saifiti, Eloni Vunakece, Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai. Reserves: Brayden Wiliame, James Storer, Junior Roqica, Pio Seci.Tonga squad:William Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei, Tuimoala Lolohea, Mafoa’aeata Hingano, Andrew Fifita, Siliva Havili, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Manu Ma’u, Sika Manu (c), Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: Sione Katoa, Sam Moa, Peni Terepo, Ben Murdoch-Masilia. Reserves: Joe Ofahengaue, Solomone Kata, David Fusitua, Samisoni Langi.last_img