World Rugby has increased its funding in Pacific Islands teams after the Samoa Rugby Union (SRU) was declared bankrupt.Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, the SRU chairman, issued a fundraising plea to the public to try to keep the insolvent governing body going on Wednesday.
It was announced by the world governing body on Thursday that Samoa, Tonga and Fiji will receive a 19 per cent rise in investment in co-operation with Pacific Rugby Players.World Rugby stated that additional funds would be handed out to assist with high-performance programes of the three unions and their Rugby World Cup 2019 campaigns.
Peter Horne, the World Rugby general manager, high performance, said: "In the 2016-19 cycle, World Rugby will invest an estimated £20.3 million in programmes for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa which is an increase of 19 per cent on the last cycle. "This programme is reaping benefits with the outstanding performances of the Flying Fijians this year as well as the World Rugby-funded Fijian Drua, competing in Australia’s National Rugby Championship as a pathway for local players.
"Tonga's win against Italy last November was a big push towards their Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification and we'd love to see similar results from them and Samoa this November. As we work towards RWC 2019, we need to ensure the three Pacific Island teams are as competitive as possible and this increase in world-class staffing and support will really benefit the squads."
Samoa face Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday and take on England at Twickenham in a fortnight.