England v Samoa
Samoa 'threatened' over Twickenham boycott
ESPN Staff
November 18, 2014
Census Johnston has revealed Samoa's involvement in the World Cup and the All Blacks in Apia were threatened over their potential boycott © Getty Images

Samoa prop Census Johnston has revealed the squad only agreed to call off their boycott of Saturday's autumn international against England at Twickenham after receiving threats over their place at the World Cup and New Zealand's visit to Apia next year.

Johnson said Samoa have only cancelled the strike to safeguard crucial future opportunities for the country's rugby-focused economy and public.

"Yeah, there's a lot been going on the last couple of weeks," said Johnston, as he confirmed Samoa were threatened with World Cup exclusion and the All Blacks not touring next summer if they had carried out the strike. Johnson refused to name the source of the threats.

"To be honest we're really focused on this week, for the people of Samoa, rugby's a huge part of the country. It's really important we put the country first before ourselves. We haven't spoken to all the boys about it but we have spoken to a lot of the senior players about it. And we've all just decided that we'll front up this week to make sure that we play well."

Samoa wrote to the IRB in October about long-standing concerns over the Samoan Rugby Union (SRU) and the administration of the game in the country. Last week Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi (who is also Chairman of the SRU) took to his weekly national radio programme to blast the players, who he described as "little brats" and being guilty of "foolish thinking.

Johnston said senior players hoped to meet with SRU officials later in the week, despite not having received response to various invitations.

"Well we're waiting for them to come to the table at the moment, we haven't heard anything back," he said. "As a senior group we'll probably have a meeting later on tonight (Tuesday), just to clear things up a little bit and let the boys know where we stand at the moment. Our sole focus this week is to try to put up a good performance against England."

On Monday, Samoa coach Sami Leoti had ruled out the possibility of a strike, saying all was resolved.

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