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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September, 2003, 08:58 GMT 09:58 UK
Leota calls for IRB help
Trevor Leota
Samoa's Trevor Leota has called on the International Rugby Board to do more for the sport's poorer nations after turning down the chance to play in his third World Cup for financial reasons.

The Wasps hooker decided not to make the trip to Australia because it would have left him 25,000 out of pocket.

Wasps would not pay his wages while he was away and Samoa, who have also been hit by a drain of talent to Australia and New Zealand, could not afford to cover his costs.

"The IRB talk about whoever goes to the World Cup not losing out on wages," Leota told BBC Sport.

"They are all talk but no action. I've not seen anything at all from them.

You've got to sacrifice something big because your family's more important than anything else in the world
Trevor Leota

"All the rugby in Australia and New Zealand is about 70% of islands players.

"I've got nothing against the IRB but it would be nice if they could help us."

The exodus of players from countries like Samoa and Fiji to Australia and New Zealand, coupled with the nations' financial problems, has led to fears that the islands sides may not be around for the 2007 World Cup.

"I just hope it doesn't happen. I just hope someone kind enough with loads of money will come and help us out," said Leota.

And the hooker refused to blame Wasps for not paying his wages for the duration of the World Cup.

"I don't blame anyone at all. It's the way the professional game has gone," said Leota.

"The club definitely wanted me to go but every international player in the club and the Premiership gets a pay cut.

"I'm sad for Samoa and disappointed for myself as well. But you've got to sacrifice something big because your family's more important than anything else in the world.

"If I'd left about two weeks ago it would have cost me about 25,000 and Samoa don't cover that."





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Samoa's Trevor Leota
"The IRB are all talk and no action when it comes to helping the island nations"



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