Tonga coach has sympathy for Samoa rugby

'Ikale Tahi rugby coach Toutai Kefu says he has feels sorry for the financial challenges being faced by their Pacific neighbours Samoa and how it impacts on the players.

Last week the Samoa's Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi declared the Samoa Rugby Union was bankrupt and unable to pay players' wages or pay off their debts.

The SRU subsequently raised almost $US140,000 from a fundraising appeal but Tuilaepa said their financial problems remained an ongoing concern.

Tonga's Rugby Union have their own administration issues, with the board declared null in void last month.

Toutai Kefu said resources were a constant struggle in the Pacific and it tended to be the players who suffered the most.

"They're usually the last people that the governance and administration think about and they need to turn that mindset around a bit," he said.

"Because it should be, in those Pacific Islands, all about the players and, as we know, in the past it hasn't and that just invites in levels of corruption and nepotism in our administration and governance which is really really disappointing."

Toutai Kefu said players in the Pacific often took a financial hit playing for their country but willingly made that sacrifice because they're passionate about representing their heritage.

"Most of the time they actually lose money and they're faced with all these administration problems and disorganisation but they leave that in the background," he said.

"They all come together and play for their families and for the country and that's something I'm really proud of."



Photo: Photosport NZ Financial struggles are nothing new for both Tonga and Samoa.