Nadolo: Fijians play for pride, not money

10:27 AM GMT

In a powerful open letter, Nemani Nadolo has blasted claims Fijian players have made complaints about their player allowance, insisting they represent their nation for the honour and love of the game.

When they face England on Saturday, Fiji Rugby Union will receive a £75,000 ‘goodwill gesture’, while the RFU is reportedly set to net approximately £10,000,000. The Fijian players, meanwhile, will receive just a £400 player allowance, but Nadolo stated in his letter published on Rugby Pass that news reports suggesting players had made complaints were simply false.

“Over the last 48 hours a number of news reports have suggested the players in the Fijian team have made complaints about the allowance we receive to play for our country and to honour our people this weekend when we face England at Twickenham,” Nadolo writes. “I want to tell you all that this is simply not true.”

Instead, the 28-year-old insisted “if the players were simply in this for the money, we would not be here” and it’s for the honour of wearing the Fiji jersey that the players remain.

“It is deeply troubling to us, not to mention disappointing, that the aforementioned reports suggest we would ever put money ahead of honour and respect for the jersey we have been entrusted to wear. If you could spend an hour in our camp you would see that it is love and camaraderie, not money, that binds us together. We are brothers in arms. We play for our families and our people.”

Nadolo acknowledged the exciting week Fijian rugby had, with the Olympic gold medal sevens team named by the International Olympic Committee as the Male Team of Rio 2016. While the same team was also nominated for the World Rugby Team of the Year Awards and their coach, Ben Ryan, was nominated for Coach of the Year.

But, he writes, Fiji Rugby still has a long way to go to creating an adequate pathway for young players.

“We understand that there is a long way to go in terms of ensuring nations such as ours, and our Pacific neighbours, are resourced adequately enough to provide a pathway for the next generation of players,” Nadolo wrote on Rugby Pass. “We hope this day comes, but our job right now as players is to perform. We are happy to leave the business of the game to the people who have been given that responsibility.”

Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

While he said the team appreciates the public support, the players are focused on playing the kind of rugby that will make his “people proud of us”.

“We appreciate the fact that a number of people have voiced their concerns at the perceived lack of balance in terms of match fees and payments. It is a discussion that needs to continue and we will listen to that conversation with interest. I say again, however, that as players we are responsible only for playing the kind of match this weekend that makes our people proud of us. That is what we are focused on.

“I am a professional rugby player and I love every minute I spend as part of the Fiji squad. It has given me a sense of appreciation for the true values of the game. It has also made me realise how important it is not to take anything for granted. I wanted to write this today as it is what I feel in my heart.”

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Nadolo: Fijians play for pride, not money – RUGBY

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