Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Tyrone's talking point - World Cup scheduling scandal

Samoan star centre Eliota Fuimano-Sapolu will probably find himself in serious hot water after his Twitter outburst about the scheduling of matches in the qualifying stages of the World Cup.

The language used and analogies mentioned, like apartheid and the Holocaust, were extreme and way off the mark. Yet, his fundamental message had total validity.

The Tier Two nations are discriminated against in terms of rest time compared to the top rugby nations.

Why go the trouble of inviting them to the tournament, congratulate them when they play so well, encourage them to close the gap further and then protect mainstream nations by allocating far less rest time to their lesser rivals?

It is inconsistent and blatantly unfair. Samoa had three days to recover before playing their crunch game against Wales, who had enjoyed a full week’s rest after their match versus South Africa. In the same way, Ireland will undoubtedly benefit from the fact that Sunday’s opponents Russia were involved a midweek fixture against Italy yesterday.

Supporters want to see the lowly teams have a real chance of an upset, so organisers, take your blinkers off and be fair.

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