27 Aug 2015

Sport: Player release still a problem for smaller rugby nations

11:49 am on 27 August 2015

The International Rugby Players Association says issues around player release will continue to be a problem at World Cups until a commercial solution is found.

Daniel Leo and Census Johnston playing for Manu Samoa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Daniel Leo and Census Johnston playing for Manu Samoa at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Earlier this year former Manu Samoa lock Daniel Leo said Pacific Island players face losing up to 40 percent of their salary from club teams by opting to play in the World Cup.

Leo and fellow Samoa veteran Census Johnston announced their retirements from test matches earlier this year.

Unlike tier one nations, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga don't have the funds to compensate clubs, often forcing players to choose between money and country.

Josh Blackie from the Players Association says World Rugby is making a lot of money from Rugby World Cup but not much of that filters down to the players.

"A lot of guys are standing up and saying well I want to represent my country at no matter what cost. You've got to respect those guys but those guys who choose not to do that you've got to respect them as well, because they're making the most of the opportunities for their future as well. It's a difficult situation but we're working hard to make sure that model is looked at and with the World Cups down the track there is a bit more equality with how it works".

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