Dan Cole has won 76 England caps on the tight-head
Autumn internationals: England v Samoa
Date: Saturday, 25 November Venue: Twickenham Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra & BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Sharing match fees with Samoa is not a decision that should have to be made by England’s players, says prop Dan Cole.

A senior England players’ group announced on Wednesday they would not be gifting money to the Samoans before their Test at Twickenham on Saturday.

With their union in financial strife, Samoa’s players are currently unsure if they will be paid this autumn.

“The whole of the rugby world has to take an interest in it. It’s above this game on the weekend,” Cole said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, he added: “You need to go above players, you need to go to the unions, you need to go to World Rugby, and you need to address it at that level rather than just making this an England versus Samoa issue.

“The political side of things, the contracts that are signed, are negotiated away from our field.

“Are you going to ask every union: Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Wales? You need to get everyone together – it’s not just an England campaign.”

‘Complicated situation above a game of rugby’

Samoa were beaten 44-38 by Scotland at Murrayfield in their first autumn international on 11 November

Earlier this month, the Samoan Rugby Union declared itself bankrupt, a fact disputed by World Rugby.

But regardless of the exact situation in Samoa, the financial disparity between the two sides this weekend is stark, with an England player able to make about £22,000 per match, including training fees and image rights.

However, Cole, a respected and experienced member of the England squad with 76 caps, believes distributing payments might set a difficult precedent.

“I think it’s difficult to start paying your opposition because of the issues that it might create further down the line with future teams, but also the dynamics of being caught in those ethics,” Cole added.

“I think the issue is above us in regards to World Rugby and the unions. The Samoan players, yes, should probably get paid more [for] the game, but that has to come from funding from elsewhere.”

When asked whether there was a bigger picture to consider, Cole answered: “Correct, as opposed to one game. Otherwise every game you sort of get into the ethics of these things, and it’s a complicated situation that is above playing a game of rugby.

“You want a strong global game, you want people representing their countries, and you want the international game to be strong across the board, because a rising tide floats all boats.

“That’s important. You want the game to be strong across the board, because that’s what rugby is about moving forward, and I am sure there are discussions at a higher level than mine about how to do that.”

However, the Leicester player said he understands if people were to make an argument that England’s players were taking a selfish stance.

“I can see an argument for it, but I think we as players play the game, we sign our contracts, and it’s not for us to decide who we play or how much other people get paid,” he said.

‘England players in fortunate position’

Cole says he thinks “every day” about the fortunate position him and his England team-mates find themselves in with regards to money and facilities.

“We understand that, and we know this doesn’t last forever, and we are fortunate to play in England which has the best support going and a great club system.”

The notion England’s players may donate some of their money to Samoa was suggested by Tonga-born Mako Vunipola, but Cole says his fellow prop is in line with the rest of his team-mates.

“He has [been involved]. I don’t know whether he was quoted first time round, but he has had his view, he has said that, and I think he supports the team’s decision,” said Cole


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