Mannix says Fiji players paid not to play at RWC

Last updated 05:00 08/11/2012
Sireli Bobo
Getty Images
STRONG ACCUSATION: Former All Black Simon Mannix says some Racing Metro players, like Sireli Bobo (pictured), were paid not to play for Fiji at last year's World Cup.

Relevant offers

International

Scotland flyhalf Peter Horne replaces banned Finn Russell against Italy Lock Michael FitzGerald lost to Manawatu Turbos Kevin Locke's Scottish rugby move looks imminent France drop Mathieu Bastareaud, recall Morgan Parra for Wales clash in Paris Warren Gatland's future cloudy as Welsh CEO resigns England fullback Mike Brown ruled out of Ireland match, replaced by Alex Goode Mark Hammett resigns at Cardiff due to family reasons French rugby coach Philippe Saint-Andre denies players were 'loaded' during win over All Blacks in 1986 Michael Cheika says Wallabies door open to overseas-bound players England drop winger Jonny May from squad to face Ireland in Six Nations

Former All Black Simon Mannix is embroiled in a controversy after claiming Fiji players were paid by a French club to miss last year's Rugby World Cup.

Mannix, the former Racing Metro backs coach, said some Fiji players at the Paris club were kept there to play in the Top 14 rather than be involved in the global tournament in New Zealand.

"Racing Metro had Fijians who declined to go to the World Cup ... because the club gave them a cheque if they stayed here [in Paris]," Mannix told The Independent newspaper.

Mannix, who coached at the club from 2006 till last November and is now at Irish club Munster, alleged Sireli Bobo, Jone Qovu and Josh Matavesi were involved.

Racing Metro president Jacky Lorenzetti denied his club made any illegal payments or broke any regulations. "[The accusations] make me laugh, especially coming from Simon Mannix. Nothing else to add," Lorenzetti told French website Rugbyrama.

But the suggestions about Pacific Island players being discouraged from playing in World Cups aren't new and the plight of the cash-strapped Pacific teams was a hot topic at the tournament.

The Independent also approached former Fiji first-five Nicky Little about the allegations. He has played for clubs across Europe and contested four World Cups and he confirmed shady dealings.

"For many seasons, European and UK-based Islanders have either been blackmailed not to play for their countries or had pay docked when they were with their national teams," Little, who represented Fiji in four World Cups, told The Independent.

Matavesi felt he had been put in an awkward position. "I had a verbal agreement with the club, who offered me a two-year contract. I knew that if I signed, I couldn't go to the World Cup.

"I didn't have any other offers.

"It was a difficult decision but in the end I thought about the security of me and my family," he said. Bobo described an additional $40,000 payment made to him as "a bonus". 

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who was the better Springboks lock?

Bakkies Botha

Victor Matfield

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content