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Leo says Tier One Rugby finally tasting how tough it can be

Former Manu Samoa captain, Daniel Leo, sees the irony in Tier One nations facing financial trouble due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The rugby unions of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa have asked their Northern Hemisphere counterparts for a revenue sharing agreement on potential November tour matches, to help cover the loss of income from cancelled June tours to the Southern Hemisphere.

But based off his comments to reporter Chris Jones of RugbyPass, the Pacific Rugby Players Welfare Chief executive officer has little sympathy for the economic plight of international rugby’s big brothers.

“The current crisis really is a case for the Tier One nations of welcome to our world,” Leo told Jones. 

“These kind of financial problems are what the Pacific Islands nations deal with every year – it is normal for us. What COVID-19 has done is bring the same situation to the doorsteps of the bigger nations.

“It is very easy for the Tier One nations to ignore this kind of issue when you don’t ever have to deal with it yourself, but that has now changed.”

In July last year, Leo and Pacific Rugby Players Welfare (P.R.P.W.) made the argument for a profit sharing deal between Tier Two and Tier One nations, which proposed the visiting Tier Two sides receive 10% of returns instead of nothing.

“This should be a world-wide discussion not one only for the Tier One nations to get through this current situation,” he said. 

“It could be a stop-gap until Unions are profitable again after COVID-19 passes but something should be written into World Rugby law that after this crisis Tier Two nations should still get a benefit from playing the bigger nations. We are talking about the long term sustainability of the sport.

“We received standard “we will consider it” letters from the Six Nations and it has now been eight months and I copied in Bill Beaumont and Brett Gosper (WR CEO) in and left it with Bill who said he would drive it. We are trying to find out exactly where we are and if those letters were just fob-you-off notes.”

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