Pacific rugby

More All Blacks want to play for Pacific Island nations

Piutau and Halai, who both have Tongan ancestry, want World Rugby to loosen the eligibility rules to allow capped players to return to tier-two nations.

An identical policy has been introduced in rugby league and the Daily Mail report that Nonu and Vito could also make themselves available for Samoa under the proposals.

"If there's a way to do it, I want to give something back and play for Tonga at the 2019 World Cup," Piutau told the Mail on Sunday.

Tonga are in the same pool as England for the World Cup.

Pacific rugby minnows call for funding boost

The Cook Islands suffered an upset defeat against Tahiti last weekend in Rarotonga in the Oceania Cup, ending their faint Rugby World Cup hopes at the first hurdle.

It was the first time the team had played together since conceding more than 100 points against Fiji in a world cup qualifier three years ago.

Tahiti had also been inactive since finishing second at the last Oceania Cup in 2015.

The CIRU's Moana Moeka'a said they simply don't play enough.

"Outside of the so-called big three it's very hard," Moeka'a said.

More Pacific rugby tests backed to close the gap

From 2020, there will be a big increase in matches between top and second-tier nations, including a commitment from England and France to play in the Pacific.

Southern Hemisphere teams have committed to hosting tier-two teams in the new July test window, while Six Nations sides have guaranteed to host a minimum of six matches against second-tier teams in November.

Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu said more test matches against tier one nations can only be good for Pacific Island countries.

England, France agree to tour Pacific in rugby calendar shake-up

From 2020, the current June international window will move to the first three weeks of July to allow Super Rugby to be completed prior to the start of the test programme.

There will also be a minimum of a 39 percent increase in matches between top and second-tier nations between 2020 and 2032, including a commitment from England and France to play in the Pacific.

Australia not doing enough to develop rugby in Fiji and Pacific: Mark Ella

Compared with his country, the former ace, regarded as Australia's best rugby player of all time, said the Kiwis were more active and culturally attached to the island nations.

He made the statement in light of the New Zealand All Blacks' tour to Samoa last year and the Super Rugby match between the Waikato Chiefs and the Canterbury Crusaders in Suva this year.

"I don't think Australia does enough to develop rugby in the Pacific Islands, I think New-Zealand does a bit more," Ella said.

Mental health a focus for Pacific rugby initiative

RNZI reports more than 600 Pacific Island players currently play professional rugby across the world, and the new Player Personal Development Programme aims to give these players greater support.

US$455,000 is being invested into the programme in Fiji, which is to be piloted for three years.

Pacific Island rugby not helping themselves

With the Sunwolves and Kings ensconced at the foot of the Super Rugby table and certain to stay there for the foreseeable future, it highlights the opportunity missed in not inviting a Pacific Island side into the competition.

What Super Rugby needed this year was a new team in which people could believe - a highly physical, courageous, inspirational group of footballers to ignite the imagination and rattle a few bones.

Fiji, Samoa, Tonga to get seats on World Rugby Council

Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are to get seats on an expanded World Rugby Council in what's been called the biggest positive step in Pacific rugby ever.

The Council has approved wide-ranging reform of its governance structures, including increased representation for tier two unions and regional areas.

Oceania is currently represented by Samoa's Lefau Harry Schuster on the Council but the Pacific countries do not have individual seats.

World Rugby gives Pacific Island nations a boost - with strict conditions

World Rugby has finally agreed to open its doors to lower-tier unions wanting a say in how the sport is run. Following the eighth and most successful Rugby World Cup in England, the sport's governing body is expanding the number of unions and voting rights on its new secondary council from May.