PHOTO: Manu Samoa against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 2017 by FIOANA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES
APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY O1 MARCH 2019: Disappointment, frustration and anger are the Pacific players and vocal rugby critics’ reaction to the new League of 12 that is planned to start in 2020.
If it goes ahead, the new League will cut off Pacific Island teams from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for the next 12years.
The Pacific Rugby Players, say the new League “will spell the death of Pacific Island rugby.” It prompted the call for the Pacific Islands teams of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, to boycott the upcoming World up in Japan in September.
Despite being in the top 10, Fiji is not included and the continuing argument over players poaching and the contribution of the Pacific island unions and players to world rugby comes up again in the wake of this new development.
Vocal critics say that under the new set up, Pacific island players will opt to play for clubs in Europe and forgo their island nations as there will be nothing to play for in the next 12 years the new league will be in play.
A Samoan reformed Reverend has joined the fray suggesting on his facebook page for Pacific Island Rugby Unions to establish a new competition and invite teams from China, tier 2 nations, a black South Africa team, the Maoris and other ethnic minorities in response to the new League.