Dan Leo joins House of Rugby Ireland to discuss his acclaimed Oceans Apart documentary
"They see themselves as Irish Pacific Islanders."
Former Samoa international, and programme director of the Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, Dan Leo joined House of Rugby Ireland this week to discuss his acclaimed documentary Oceans Apart: Green, Betrayal & Pacific Islands Rugby.
Leo played 39 times for Samoa - as well as club rugby with Wasps, Perpignan and London Irish - but was dropped from the national team ahead of the 2015 World Cup after speaking out on corruption and payment irregularities in his country's rugby union. He has dedicated himself, since then, to being an advocate for Pacific Island players at home and abroad.
Oceans Apart has won rave reviews since its' release and it features as swathe of top players from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, who have moved abroad to play their rugby so they can support their families, and sometimes entire villages, back home. For every player that thrives abroad, though, there are another five struggling to make ends meet.
During his 45-minute chat with House of Rugby hosts Ian Madigan and Eimear Considine (listen from 0:30 below), Leo talks with searing honesty on how these Tier 2 rugby nations and their people have been exploited, and what can be done to truly make rugby a game for all.
Also covered during the show was a great idea, proposed by Ian Madigan, to ensure a small percentage of a players' professional contract, if they are playing abroad, always goes back to their home union or club they played underage with.
A few other interesting topics were discussed over the course of the episode, including:
- Clubs in Tier 1 countries targeting young rugby prospects as young as 11 and 12 for moves abroad
- Why Ireland internationals Bundee Aki and Sene Naoupu see themselves as 'Irish Pacific Islanders'
- Busking in Scotland to raise money for a struggling player
- Social media abuse of players and the policies clubs and nations impose on their players
- A preview of Ireland's upcoming Autumn Nations Cup clash with Scotland
'Oceans Apart' is available to watch, on demand, on Vimeo here.
WATCH HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND HERE:
LISTEN TO HOUSE OF RUGBY IRELAND: https://playpodca.st/house-of-rugby-ie
Season 3 has returned with Ian Madigan & Eimear Considine as hosts, and has already featured interviews with Brian O'Driscoll, Nigel Owens, Sean Cronin, Shane Williams, Mike Brown, CJ Stander, Ugo Monye, Sene Naoupu and Dan Leo.