The Leicester wing Nemani Nadolo has accused a supporter of casual racism following a comment on social media in which the fan suggested the club sign “players with names we can pronounce”.
On Monday Leicester announced five new signings including Nadolo’s fellow Fijian Kini Murimurivalu. A Facebook user responded to the arrivals by commenting: “Great signings but please can we have some players with names we can pronounce lol.”’
Nadolo, who arrived at Leicester as a signing from Montpellier this month, having won 30 caps for Fiji, made his opinion clear on social media. On Instagram he wrote: “I don’t stand for this I’m calling it out for what it is … casual racism. It’s just a shame it’s from a supporter of my club! Our name isn’t good enough??”
Earlier on Twitter, alongside a screenshot of the supporter’s post, he wrote: “A comment made on the signing of my mate Kini Murimurivalu by one of the supporters.. sorry but I don’t stand for this s**t … I’ll let head office know tomorrow to change my name to Bob to make it easier for some!.. oh yeah I bet it was joke too.”
Leicester, who reported to police in April 2019 “vile and disgusting” abuse of some of their players on social media, issued a swift statement in response: “Rugby prides itself on being an inclusive game for all and as a club we do not condone any form of discrimination. The club has a proud record of combining local players with signings from other parts of the world and we are certain that the Tigers Family will, as always, warmly welcome all of the new signings to the city and county, as we saw with the overwhelming majority of comments this week.”
Meanwhile, World Rugby is not expected to vote on the autumn international Test window until the end of the month. The governing body is eventually expected to amend its regulations to allow for an extended window from 24 October to 5 December to complete the outstanding Six Nations matches and stage an eight-team “festival of rugby”.
In the southern hemisphere, Australia, South Africa and Argentina are set to travel to New Zealand for a rescheduled Rugby Championship rather than head north. The South African union’s chief executive, Jurie Roux, said: “If we do that there will be no time for other internationals, and in any case the northern hemisphere has been clear that they want to complete the Six Nations and then play a tournament with Japan and Fiji in that period.”
The World Rugby chairman, Bill Beaumont, has led the tributes to the former British & Irish Lions wing Mike Slemen, who has died at the age of 69. Slemen was part of England’s 1980 grand slam-winning side and toured South Africa with the Lions later that year, both under Beaumont’s captaincy.
“He was a great rugby player and a great all-round sportsman,” said Beaumont. “He will be very much missed as someone whose generous spirit and outstanding athleticism graced our sport.”