Not all idiots are fools: Why punish Samoa for sins of others?

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 18 May 2018, 12:00AM

Let’s face it. Samoan rugby has been dealt another classic from World Rugby.

It’s laughable if only the issue wasn’t funny. This time it came through the announcement earlier this week about the new path Manu Samoa will take to reach the World Cup in Japan next year.

According to the statement in question, it says that World Rugby has rescheduled Samoa’s qualification matches “in a bid to help them with their preparations.”

 “Rescheduling is necessary to maximise time following the conclusion of independent disputes committee review of matters relating to the 2017-18 Rugby Europe Championship, a competition run by Rugby Europe that doubles as Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification,” the statement reads.

“Subject to any appeal of the disputes committee’s decision, the winner of the European play-off between Germany and Portugal, provisionally scheduled for 9 June will play Samoa home and away in the play-off to determine the final Pool A place. The first leg will be played in Apia on 30 June with the return leg in Europe on 14 July.

 “The winner on aggregate will qualify for Japan 2019 as the play-off winner, joining Ireland, Scotland, Japan and Russia in Pool A. The loser will progress to the Repechage competition in November.”

Okay that’s fine. But let’s get on to the nitty gritty of it.

 “The rescheduled dates will enable the least-possible disruption for Samoa’s European and Southern Hemisphere based players, who will be released under Regulation 9, which covers all Rugby World Cup qualifiers. It also enables all qualifiers to be completed prior to the Repechage competition,” the statement continues. 

“In order to maximise Samoa’s preparation for these important matches, World Rugby is also funding Samoa’s entry into the 2018 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji between 9-16 June, which features Fiji, Georgia and Tonga.”

Not all idiots are fools. This is a whole lot of rubbish. 

Terms such as “helping Samoa”,  “least possible disruption” and “maximise Samoa’s preparations” mean absolutely nothing.

How can this rescheduling help Samoa when they have just changed the opponents and the times when the games will be played? How can they say it’s the least possible disruption? Who writes these statements and what drug are they on?

Now the Manu Samoa Coach, Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua, obviously doesn’t share the same enthusiasm. He has every reason to. About half of the first choice Manu Samoa squad will not be available for what could possibly be Samoa’s most important test matches this year.

“There are some players for sure they are not available for these games,” Fuimaono said, adding that Samoa had waited a long time for the schedule to be clarified.

Fuimaono said the reality is that some players have already made other plans while others have specific agreements with their clubs.

“Some of the players it’s in their contract that they won’t be available for their national side,” he said. “Some of them already have plans for their weddings...there are players they’ve already set their plans because right from the start from last year our dates was June so all the players had their plans ahead but they changed it.”

Fuimaono is correct. This is yet another classic from World Rugby thinking that everybody will just swallow it without thinking. Well they are wrong.

There is a simple solution to all this of course.

Since Romania and Spain, who were supposed to be Samoa’s opponents have been disqualified, the best thing World Rugby could have done is allow Samoa to qualify for the Rugby World Cup. It’s that simple. Why punish Samoa for the sins of others? That’s what we think anyway, what about you? 

Have a wonderful weekend Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 18 May 2018, 12:00AM

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