Fans outraged by an IRB fine handed to Samoa's
Alesana Tuilagi have been giving the Leicester Tigers prop a helping hand to
pay the sanction.
As if the IRB didn't have enough to deal with, with
major southern hemisphere nations threatening to boycott the next World Cup in
five years time, they have now also come under fire for the fine handed down to
Coming just days after England were only slapped on
the wrists for breaching IRB rules during the clash against Romania, the Samoan
winger was fined NZ$10,000 (£5000) for wearing a branded mouth-guard
during the Fiji clash that was not in keeping with World Cup sponsorship.
IRB rules state the same ball must be used for a
conversion kick that was used to score the try. But twice England coaches gave
Jonny Wilkinson a different ball after "mistakenly thought that there was
an issue with some of the match balls".
The IRB were happy for the RFU to deal with the
issue, resulting in assistant coach David Alred and fitness coach Paul Stridgeon
being suspended for one match.
All of this has led to some fans feeling there is a
discrepancy in how the IRB are dealing with the big teams and some of the poorer
nations, both in sporting and financial terms.
But in the spirit of neighbourly love, NZ have been
getting behind Tuilagi and have been fund-raising to help him pay the fine.
New Zealand current affairs show Campbell Live organised
a sausage sizzle in central Auckland to help raise the money and, with some
people buying a banger for NZ$300 (£150), the event is reported to have collected nearly
Dr Anthony Lovat, a dentist and the
founder of Opro mouth-guards who supplied Tuilagi's shield, has slammed the
fine as "ridiculously harsh".
Lovat added that he had been
trying to contact the Samoan Rugby Union to offer to pay the fine on Tuilagi's
behalf, while mobile phone company Digical Samoa had pledged NZ$7000 (£3500)
With all three donations the NZ$10,000
(£5000) target was comfortably reached before Tuilagi took to the field on
Friday as the Samoan's lost 13-5 to South Africa on the North Shore and
departed the tournament.