BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania will donate the profits from ticket sales for Saturday’s rugby match against Tonga to a Tonga-born player who is suffering from kidney failure, officials said.
Flanker Sione Vaiomounga, who played for Romanian champions CSM Baia Mare, was diagnosed with kidney failure last year and has not been able to play since.
The Romanian Rugby Federation (FRR) said the money from the Bucharest game, the team’s final warm-up before the World Cup in England and Wales, would allow Vaiomounga to see his family for the first time in more than a year.
“The financial situation of Tongan citizens overall and that of his family, in particular, does not allow them to travel abroad and the doctors believe that seeing his loved ones will benefit his recovery,” the federation said in a statement.
“Regardless of our nationality, we have in common the passion for rugby and everything it represents,” added FRR president Haralambie Dumitras. “It is natural to support those in need.”
Romania, who have played in every World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987 but notched up only five wins, are in Pool D with France, Ireland, Italy and Canada. Tonga are in Pool C with champions New Zealand, Argentina, Georgia and Namibia.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov in Sofia; editing by Clare Fallon