Prizemoney could help RWC minnows - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Prizemoney could help RWC minnows

By Melissa Woods 18/09/2003 07:20:32 PM Comments (0)

Prize money at the Rugby World Cup would stop players choosing lucrative club contracts over representing their country, according to the players' union.

Samoa has lost another two players from its squad to rich England club deals while Namibia is in "chaos", with the growing divide between rich and poor nations threatening the future of the tournament.

International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) chairman Tony Dempsey said prizemoney would help poorer countries retain their players.

Veteran hooker Trevor Leota and lock Henry Tuilaga have turned their back on Samoa because their English clubs won't pay them during the tournament.

Fiji duo Simon Raiwalui and Jacob Rauluni opted to stay with their English clubs while Tonga lost winger Aisea Havili.

Four Namibian players are also believed to be trying to withdraw from the squad to continue earning their living at provincial teams in neighbouring South Africa.

Forced to cancel a training camp for financial reasons, coach Dave Waterstone has described their preparation as "chaotic".

IRPA pushed for prize money to be awarded at the Rugby World Cup, in line with this year's cricket tournament in South Africa, where $8.4 million was awarded to competing countries, with the champion Australian side sharing $3.4m.

However the IRB decided it would pay a base participation fee of $420,000 to each union, but no prize money to players.

It's up to countries to negotiate any player payments, but poorer countries like Samoa, Fiji, Georgia and Namibia, who are already at financial breaking point, are unable to pass on any rewards.

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