PRPW looks to ease pressures on Pacific players

A not-for-profit created to take care of the interests of Pacific rugby players in the UK says the recent suicide of a Fijian in France shows the need for their programme to expand into France.

Isireli Temo was a prop for 3rd division club Tarbes who had just returned to the country last month after a holiday back in Fiji to visit his family.

Reports say upon his return, Temo had a few injury issues and became increasingly despondent.

Daniel Leo from Pacific Rugby Players Welfare said there has been a lack of support for Pacific players plying their trade overseas.

The PRPW is conducting cultural diversity programmes with UK clubs to aid the integration of Pacific men into the community.

The PRPW, consisting of former internationals and professionals like Leo, Junior Paramore, Aleki Lutui, Lome Fa'atau and Vili Ma'asi, is currently engaged with over 100 Pacific players in the UK.

Leo said young Pacific men are not encouraged to talk or ask questions of those in authority like people in the UK, so often their frustrations and concerns can be overlooked.

He said Pacific players can also be misconstrued as having a lack of engagement.

There are even greater issues in France.

"France is a whole another kettle of fish," Leo said.

"There's 400+ Pacific island players over there and the dynamics of the UK is very different to that in France.

"In France it is a lot easier for guys straight from the islands to play in France because there is less of a visa barrier."

Leo, who played over 40 tests for Manu Samoa and the Pacific Islanders, said the Temo case shows more support is needed.

"70 percent of the Pacific island players that go to France are directly from the islands and on top of that they have the language barrier as well," he said.

"There is a lot of different pressures there and the sad fact is, a lot of us can't deal with that pressure.

"The next step really is working and establishing a programme in France and just increasing our resilience as a people in dealing with those types of pressure."