Pacific rugby

The future of rugby unions in Pacific uncertain

For unions like Samoa, Fiji and Tonga, commercial viability was already challenging and with USA Rugby filing for bankruptcy along with larger rugby nations facing serious financial worries, Pacific clubs and unions were becoming concerned for their future.

The CEO of Samoa Rugby, Faleomavaega Vincent Fepulea'i, said he was seeking financial support from World Rugby.

Māori or Pacific Island heritage needed in All Blacks coaching set-up - SBW

Head coach Steve Hansen will complete his tenure after Friday's bronze medal match against Wales in Japan.

Assistant coach Ian Foster has already expressed his interest in the position, while there are sure to be other high profile candidates.

Asked what positive traits Foster could bring to the role, Williams wouldn't be drawn other than to say he knew there would be a lot of interested applicants.

But the cross-code star, who is of Samoan heritage, did reveal a suggestion for New Zealand Rugby about the next All Blacks coaching group.

Call for Australia and NZ to help fund Pacific rugby

Tonga, Samoa and Fiji's performances at the World Cup were hampered by a lack of economic resources, Fiji economist Wadan Narsey said.

He said if a Pacific team was included in the Super Rugby competition, it would strengthen Pacific rugby unions financially.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in aid that New Zealand and Australia gave to the Pacific had a negligible political impact, he said.

Dan Leo speaks on Pacific Rugby Players Welfare

In November of 2016, Fijian prop Isireli Temo committed suicide in France, whilst playing for Tarbes in the country’s third division.

The life of a rugby player can seem glamorous from the outside, but without the support many people take for granted in their day-to-day lives, it can be a lonely place, especially in the lower tiers of professional and semi-professional rugby.

It’s that absence of support which Leo has dedicated himself to combatting with the PRPW.

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.