20 Oct 2011

Samoa PM praises Sapolu for criticising rugby referee

3:29 pm on 20 October 2011

Samoa's Prime Minister, Tuilaepa`Sailele`Malielegaoi, has praised the Manu Samoa rugby player, Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, for speaking out about what he calls the injustices at the Rugby World Cup.

The prime minister says he takes his hat off to Sapolu for being brave and calls him a true warrior of Samoa and a player who stands by his conviction.

His comments follow a six-month suspended ban on the rugby player for accusing referee Nigel Owens of racism and bias.

Tuilaepa insists that the decision to select a Welsh referee for Samoa's match against South Africa was highly inappropriate, given Wales' fate in the tournament depended on the outcome of the match.

Tuilaepa says Sapolu was courageous for being prepared to sacrifice his career for what he believes in.

The Samoa Observer says Tuilaepa's praise of the player contradicts the position of the Samoa Rugby Union, of which he is chairman.

The union has strongly condemned Sapolu's comments.