Pacific nations call on World Rugby to do more

Pacific Island nations are "sick" of the status quo and are calling on World Rugby to do more after Fiji, Samoa and Tonga all failed to qualify for the Rugby World Cup knockout rounds.

Fiji were the last Pacific side to reach the quarter finals in 2007 and bowed out of contention at the current tournament with a narrow defeat by Japan on Wednesday.

Between the end of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the start of the current tournament Fiji played eight tests against so-called tier one nations, winning three and losing five.

That included victory over France in Paris last year which lifted the Flying Fijians to a best ever eighth place in the world rankings.

While Fiji pushed Australia and Wales close at this World Cup, hooker Sam Matavesi says if they want to take that next step they need to be playing the very best on a regular basis.

"Honestly, I think it's playing top nations constantly like Argentina in the Rugby Championship. Argentina were a very good team before but if you're playing New Zealand, South Africa and Australia week-in week-out it's going to help you and we're the same.

"It's no disrespect to who we play but if you want to be a power in these tournaments you have to play the best people all year," Matavesi said.

Tonga only played four games against tier one opposition in between World Cups, which included a notable win in Italy three years ago.

Fullback Telusa Veainu said something has to change.

"We get so sick of playing the island nations - that's all we do is just play Fiji, Samoa, Canada - and those game are fine but for us to improve and to get better and to be competitive we need to play those tier one nation teams. World Rugby needs to step in and do something because it's not healthy, it's not healthy for the sport," said Veainu.

The 'Ikale Tahi have shown significant progress in their three World Cup matches to date, losing by 32 points against England, 16 against Argentina and just two against France.

Head coach Toutai Kefu said more top level matches is one of many ways World Rugby could help close the gap between the haves and the have nots.

"That brings more quality time together. We also have a list of players that, through some reason or another, are not here...Definitely everyone can see the improvement over the last three weeks - last four weeks if you include that All Blacks game.

"We've improved out of sight, I think, and still the last couple of games we probably lost it due to our own fault," Kefu said.

Samoa bowed out of World Cup contention with back to back losses against Scotland and Japan.

The Manu haven't reached the World Cup knockout rounds since 1995 and coach Steve Jackson fears the wait could go on much longer unless their is a major rethinking of the current eligibility laws.

"There's got to be some sort of rule change in eligibility and things like that. It gets more difficult as things go on and I've voiced my opinion around that a few times but...there's a whole bunch of things we need to look at in the future...and the development of the game back on our own soil.

"We need to put some huge effort into that and I suppose we just want to have the opportunity to be able to have players if they want to play for Samoa to be available," Jackson said.

While the long-term future remains unclear, Samoa have one final chance to make a statement at this World Cup when they play Ireland tomorrow, while Tonga are chasing their first win against the United States on Sunday.