INPHO Simon Mannix has the crash pads at the ready.
# Exploitation
Fiji's Josh Matavesi: Racing Metro paid me to skip World Cup
Munster coach Simon Mannix also revealed that “a cheque” was handed over to Fijians who turned down international call-ups.

WORCESTER WARRIORS CENTRE Josh Matavesi says that his former club, Racing Metro, paid him and other Pacific island rugby players to make themselves unavailable for international selection.

At last year’s World Cup, Fiji were a shadow of the side who reached the last eight four years previously, as many of the island’s finest talents elected to stay away from New Zealand.

On Tuesday, Munster backs coach Simon Mannix – then assistant at Racing – kicked off the controversy by alleging to The Independent that the club contravened IRB regulation 9:

“Racing Métro had Fijians who declined to go to the World Cup … because the club gave them a cheque if they stayed here (in Paris).”

Matavesi was one such player to pass up international duty for the lure of uninterrupted employment.

“I’ll be honest with you,” he told Sky Sports’ The Rugby Club: “It happened at Racing, I know. And I’m sure it happens at other clubs.

“It’s a big thing. People have big families and they don’t come from rich areas. They’re going to look out for their families and they’re going to do what’s right (for them)”

The centre did add that his current club is a different story, and Matavesi will wear his white jersey with pride in the first November international at Twickenham tomorrow.

“Richard Hill, at Worcester, he encouraged us to go and play for Fiji and go and represent our countries. It’s a big thing – If clubs are letting their English players go and play for England, then why not other countries?”

Fiji captain captain Deacon Manu, was careful to add a caveat lest  a powerful IRB nation turn against the 14th ranked team in the world.

“It’s not the whole French market, that needs to be understood. It’s probably certain clubs and those clubs are being talked about this week and, probably, further investigation will need to happen to really get to the root and heart of the problem.”


The issue is still alive, and the Pacific side will have their work cut out against a bruising England outfit who have excited their public enough to make the fixture an 82,000 sell-out in London.

“Most cities in Fiji aren’t that big, so it’s a big number to get your head around.” Says Manu, “But the guys have got to look forward to it, they’ll give their best whether there’s one person watching or 82,000.”

Matavesi, meanwhile was also envisaging himself in front of the massive crowd. Asked what he was most looking forward to about tomorrow’s game, he instantly offered: “Swing low, sweet chariot.” But added with a smile, “and the shock on their faces at the end of the game.”

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