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Samoa manager fined 100 pigs for WCup misbehavior

Updated: November 22, 2011, 19:06

WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) The manager of Samoa's World Cup rugby team has been fined 100 pigs for disgracing his village and discrediting his chiefly title at the tournament last month.

Tuala Mattew Vaea was fined 100 sows, valued at around US$2,500, by the elders of his home village of Leauva'a after Samoa captain Mahonri Schwalger criticized his behavior in a letter to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi.

Leauva'a village chief Sala Lose confirmed the fine, saying the allegations made by Schwalger against the team manager had tarnished Vaea's chiefly rank and the village's reputation. It is expected Vaea will discharge the largely symbolic penalty by paying a lesser monetary fine to the village council.

The Samoan Rugby Union said Vaea was dismissed as team manager on his return from the World Cup and his position had been advertised. It said the fine imposed on Vaea was a village matter.

Schwalger complained in a letter to the Prime Minister that the Samoan players felt let down by their officials throughout the World Cup. He said Vaea absented himself from the team for days at a time spent too much time entertaining friends, a distraction to the players.

Schwalger said Vaea was expected to present jerseys to the Samoan players prior to their pool match against the then defending champion South Africa but could not be found. Samoa lost to South Africa and was eliminated from the World Cup in pool play.

"We as a team feel that our preparation was tainted by not having people in vital positions committed to their duties and responsibilities before every game,'' Schwalger was quoted as saying.

Schwalger said while the people of Samoa raised more than $3 million to fund the team's World Cup campaign, players only received a weekly allowance of around $1,000 - much less than other Pacific teams.

"We talked about the young school students who donated their lunch money to the team, about our people who would rather give to the (team) and go without food on the table, about the special bond the team has with our people,'' he told the Prime Minister. "It was our responsibility as players to stay true and play our guts out for our people. That was the only reason why the players stayed. It was for our people, not only in Samoa but all over the world.''

Prime Minister Malielegaoi told the Samoa Observer he had personally observed the behavior of team officials.

"Some who are mentioned in the report have a habit we call in Samoa 'faapio le kulilima' (bending the elbow),'' he said. "I was invited to the VIP area on the night of the Springbok game and I witnessed the truth.''

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