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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
Samoan rugby facing disaster
Samoa after defeating Wales in 1999
Samoa have enjoyed notable success on the world stage
Samoa have threatened to withdraw from international rugby because of a lack of funds.

Samoa Rugby Union chief executive officer Philipp Muller said the costs of professional rugby had "forced the SRU to consider taking up an amateur status".

"The decision may, in fact, be taken out of Samoan hands as the union itself may no long be viable after this year's World Cup," he said.

Muller said the Pacific Islands, which made a great if little-recognised contribution to world rugby, were worried the IRB was focused on the interests of rich unions and not helping the growth of rugby union globally.

"Given this and the inability to fund it, Samoa is being forced toward a decision to withdraw from the IRB Test programme," Muller said.

Something must be done to preserve the game in the 'poorer' countries
Samoan chief Philipp Muller
"The problem with the Test programme is that nations like Samoa are being expected to travel around the world to play at venues where we receive no share of the gate or the television revenues.

"If other Test sides come to Samoa, our small population as well as high local accommodation and travel costs means the Samoan Rugby Union will always make a heavy loss.

"If money is so strongly influencing world rugby and IRB are not able to find solutions, something must be done to preserve the game in the 'poorer' countries," Muller added.

Samoa have enjoyed notable success on the world stage and have produced some of the game's leading players, including Pat Lam and Va'aiga Tuigamala .

They have defeated Wales twice at Rugby World Cups - the latest victory coming in 1999 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Western Samoa's 38-31 victory in 1991 prompted the-then Wales coach Alan Davies to respond: "Good job we weren't playing the whole of the country!"





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