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The Rugby Football Union has been told it is not above touring the Pacific Islands to help the development of Tonga, Fiji and Samoa by one of its own coaches, having not visited the region for 28 years.
England have played in the Fijian capital of Suva just twice in their history, firstly in 1988 and then again three years later ahead of the 1991 Rugby World Cup, while they have never visited Samoa or Tonga.
Both Scotland and Italy toured Fiji two years ago while Wales played in Samoa the same summer, yet England have avoided the Pacific Islands for nearly three decades as it does a tour would not work financially for the RFU.
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But the current England attack coach, Scott Wisemantel, has urged the RFU to commit to a tour in the future that would see them play games against the Pacific nations even if it does not make sense money-wise, and believes that the nation that invented the sport should not count itself above the rest of the rugby union-playing countries.
With England set to begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Tonga on Sunday, Wisemantel said: “They need to play consistently against the best. The problem is the revenue, whether financially it can be done, that’s the biggest issue. In regard to that, potentially a solution is that in the November window, the Pacific nations get to play one of the big dogs at one of the big stadiums and they get a piece of the pie.”
“But there’s no reason you couldn’t go there. Other teams have been there, Italy did it a few years ago. I don’t think that just because it’s England you can think you’re above everyone else. There’s no reason you can’t go there, it’s just what you tack on along
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