All Blacks ‘would have toured Nazi Germany’, but won’t come to Pacific

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu: anger at New Zealand. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu: anger at New Zealand. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Outspoken former Samoa centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu has posted a video on the internet in which he claims the All Blacks would have toured Nazi Germany if the money had been right.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who played 23 tests and two World Cups for his country, included the inflammatory comment in a five-minute YouTube diatribe on why the world champions should tour the neighbouring south Pacific islands.

“There was a time when the United Nations asked all the nations in the world not to have sporting relationships with apartheid South Africa,” he said.

“But there was one country that decided not to listen to that. That country was New Zealand, and that team was the All Blacks. And the reason was for money.

“That’s the worst reason ever. Because it justifies the killing of innocent people, because it justifies racism, it justifies the killing of black people because they are black.

“I’ll go one step further and say, that if Hitler had an interest in rugby and fronted the money and showed the All Blacks, told them to come tour Nazi Germany, the All Blacks would.”

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu’s video

The 33-year-old said the significant influence of Polynesian players and players of Pacific Island origin on New Zealand rugby meant the All Blacks had an obligation to tour Samoa, Fiji and Tonga.

The All Blacks, who have played more than 500 tests since their first in 1903, have played just five matches against Samoa, all in New Zealand.

In 1984 they had a four-match tour of Fiji in which they played one game against the national side, though it was not given test status.

Three of their four tests against Tonga have been at World Cups. Their only non-World Cup clash was in Auckland in 2000 when the All Blacks ran up a 102-0 scoreline.

Apart from their regular tours to Europe, South Africa and Argentina, New Zealand have played matches in Hong Kong and Tokyo over the past few years and later this year will play in the United States.

Fuimaono-Sapolu, who holds a law degree, is no stranger to controversy after earning a six-month suspended ban from the International Rugby Board for comments he made on Twitter at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

In them, he accused a referee of racism and compared the disparity in preparation time between the major and minor rugby nations at the tournament to “slavery, the Holocaust and apartheid”.

  • The Guardian

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Friday, June 6, 2014 · 21:40

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