Island teams should play in Rugby Championship - Bryan Williams

Bryan Williams believes teams from the Pacific Islands should be considered for the Rugby Championships.

He played 38 tests and 75 matches for the All Blacks in the 1970s but he was also Samoa's head coach at the 1991 World Cup.

Samoa beat Wales and Argentina to finish second behind Australia in their group, which made the rugby world suddenly take sit up and notice of teams from the Pacific Islands.

His son Paul played for Samoa at the last World Cup and he said he could never understand why it had taken so long for New Zealand to play in Samoa.

"It was a wonderful day all round - celebrating the relationship between New Zealand rugby and Samoan rugby," said Williams. "When the national anthems were played, I must confess that I got pretty emotional.

"I know that a lot of other people did because it was very poignant remembering some of our friends who've passed on - Peter Fatialofa and Jerry Collins.

"We drove down town after the game and some of the people, who hadn't been able to go to the ground, had a big screen down on the water front. They were extremely excited about what they'd just seen. Everyone will feel well pleased with how things turned out."

Samoa welcomed the All Blacks with open arms when they arrived on Tuesday but there were no such pleasantries on the field during a bruising encounter, which the All Blacks eventually went on to win 25-16.

"It was a pretty exciting game, particularly in the second half," said Williams. "At one stage it was possible that Manu Samoa might sneak a win.

"It had lots of excitement and lots of drama and there was all the pageantry with the flags and buntings. It's happened now and I think the way it happened, illustrated that it should have happened a long time ago.

"Hopefully it will happen in the future but finding the right sort of windows for those sorts of games is a bit tricky with Super Rugby and the Rugby Championships.

"It really highlights to me that the Pacific Islands should be part of those competitions anyway as teams ranked in the top 10 or 12 in the world. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me but there you go, said Williams... PACNEWS