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Guernsey accuse Reds of paying Siam appearance fees

Rugby | Published: | Last Updated:

JERSEY REDS officials have criticised the off-field ‘tactics’ deployed by Guernsey after being accused of paying their professionals £2,500 to appear in the Siam Cup.

Guernsey Raiders' chairman Charles McHugh believes Jersey paid two of their professionals £2,500 to play in the Siam Cup in 2018, when the Sarnians lifted the trophy for the first time in a decade Picture: www.guernseysportphotography.com

Guernsey Raiders chairman Charles McHugh has this week made public a belief that Jersey offered cash to Nick Selway and Uili Kolo’ofa’i to play in last year’s inter-insular battle at Footes Lane, while also suggesting that terms of contracts were altered to make the Siam compulsory for eligible professionals.

Siam regulations were updated in 2016 to restrict the number of selected professionals to five, but Sarnian supporters are still chasing a return to an all-amateur affair.

Jersey won by narrow margins in 2016 and 2017 before losing the trophy for the first time in nine years in 2018.

McHugh said: ‘Last year two professionals took to the field and we don’t see there is a need for any full-time professionals to be participating.

‘I was quite disturbed to hear that Nick Selway and the Tongan powerhouse No 8 Uili Kolo’ofa’i were paid £2,500 each, which in my view is bonkers and barmy and not in the spirit of the Siam Cup.

‘We understand that Jersey Rugby Club have changed this year their contract for all full-time professionals to include an obligation if they are eligible to play in the Siam Cup, because last year many of the professional players didn’t want to play, recognising the amateur status of the trophy.’

In response, Reds president Cliff Chipperfield has strongly disputed McHugh’s understanding.

‘All of our players are contracted until the end of May and they play when we want them to, league or cup’ he said.

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‘If they meet the eligibility criteria, which were agreed by Guernsey, then they’re fine to play in the Siam Cup, but there is nothing in the contracts that refers specifically to a particular game.

‘We also totally deny that the boys were paid last year and I find it disappointing and sad that Charlie has chosen tactics such as these in the lead up to the biggest game of the year.

‘He did not mention these two things to me in the privacy of two meetings we’ve had this year. Instead he’s decided to go to the media ... I left those meetings feeling as though we had an accord.’

Seven of Jersey’s current professional squad are eligible under the three-year residency rule – Nick Selway, Apakuki Ma’afu, Aaron Penberthy, George Eastwell, Jack Macfarlane, Max Argyle and Dave Mckern. However, injuries and contracts with new clubs are likely to affect selection.

The majority of the team will come from Jersey Reds’ amateur side, Athletic, who started their Siam preparations last night.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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