World Rugby must do more to boost Pacific Island involvement

Thomas English Roar Pro

By Thomas English, Thomas English is a Roar Pro

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    In Samoa, World Rugby are claiming that they’re doing the right thing by donating 1.5m annually, But this isn’t the best we can do.

    Here are some ideas to bring about genuinely positive changes.

    Stadiums
    A smart move would be to maybe invest in a large stadium(s) in the Pacific.

    These could host Super Rugby Whether in a Pacific team context or just in the context of a game being taken to the Islands, IPRC if Fiji potentially get a team, NRC.

    Let’s get to internationals
    Samoa hosted Wales, Fiji played Scotland and Italy, Tonga were all set to take on Wales at home before it was moved to Eden Park due to surface issues.

    So there definitely would be matches played on the new ground(s) if this became a probability.

    Participation
    Alright we’ve made a start here with Fiji in the NRC, Fiji in the Brisbane 10s (previously Samoa).

    The obvious one is Super Rugby. If SANZAAR instated a team from Samoa for example, that could leave room for a IPRC team from Fiji or Tonga.

    The best part is that it would keep players at home without them getting contracted to an Aussie/Kiwi Super Rugby side. Then they get the feather in the cap which is to represent their home nation rather than a residential country.

    Competition
    For these sides to improve they need to be playing top-class opposition on a regular basis. When they play sides like England, Ireland, France etc, it is almost always away from home. Same goes for (rare) games against New Zealand and Australia.

    Lucrative gate receipts for Six Nations sides ensure they have a large financial advantage over tier 2 nations in general. If WR could possibly impose a rule about sharing a percentage of the gate receipts for games involving tier 1 nations hosting tier 2 sides, this could lead to these countries having more financial security.

    Also many have called for an HSBC Sevens leg to be held in Fiji. This is definitely an idea to be taken seriously, especially if the Hamilton tournament doesn’t work out.

    Just look at the Oceania Sevens as a model of how well it could be hosted in Fiji/Samoa/Tonga or even in a lesser rugby country such as Cook Islands or Papua New Guinea

    Much of what has to be done requires WR to take active steps. A lot of it depends on the main European nations taking on some responsibility – I mean, they sure take a mighty lot of Polynesian talent.

    Everyone loves seeing the Pacific nations play. Making this a more regular thing must be big on the priority list.

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    The Crowd Says (59)

    • December 14th 2017 @ 7:03am
      Not so super said | December 14th 2017 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Oh dear, another roar article saying how other nations should help the PI in the rugby codes

      • December 14th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Rebellion said | December 14th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        The code here is broke.

        Contribute your own money to their new stadium and take a few refugees in under your roof while you’re at it.

        I would have thought meaningful action on climate change would be a better outcome for the pacific islands given governing bodies over there don’t have a great record with wealth distribution & management.

    • December 14th 2017 @ 8:16am
      Working Class Rugger said | December 14th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      The PI’s receive more funding per capita then any other region. A total of $35m AUD over four years from WR for a total playing population of less than 80,000 registered players total. In regards to playing. Fiji played the exact same schedule as we did this June and played a near full schedule this past November including against Ireland. Samoa and Tonga have played a number of T1 nations this year as well. Including hosting Wales. The building stadium thing is just ridiculous.

      The PI’s aren’t this poor neglected Rugby outpost.

      • December 14th 2017 @ 10:28am
        ShaghaiDoc said | December 14th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        The biggest issue “appears” to be governance. Where has all the money gone? Why not sponsor some older players to study business and sports management and introduce supervision of fiscal arrangements for the money given until a culture of governance is developed.
        The second issue is player availability which could be addressed through one or more of three approaches:
        1. Change eligibility rules to require five years residency instead of three and include the requirement of a passport. If other countries want them let them give citizenship to the player and his family.
        2. Allow players, no longer required by other nations, to play for their country of ethnic origin. Already more than half the Tongan and Samoan teams are NZL born.
        3. Introduce Transfer Fees so that countries of origin benefit from players they have created and developed.
        4. WR needs to change the rules so that national unions, like Ireland and New Zealand, have central contracing of players and they can then allow players to play internationals without interference from club owners, who largely appear to be related to Son of an Orangutan.

        PS The stadium idea is not so silly and China has already pushed the idea.

        • December 14th 2017 @ 10:49am
          Thomas English said | December 14th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

          thanks SD, The reason why I didnt include no.2 is that I’ve concerns about how seriously players will take it. In RL the situation with players jumping back and forth from different countries is ridiculous.
          Maybe if such a rule was implemented, They could say that once a player has switched once they can’t go back..
          3&4 are good calls

        • Roar Rookie

          December 14th 2017 @ 11:04am
          kasi apuula said | December 14th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          Point 1 – is happening as of 2020
          Point 2 – can happy under the Olympics loophole.
          Point 3 – This would hurt the island teams a lot as you have stated most of the samoan and Tongan team are kiwis or australians.
          Point 4 – Is a good idea as it works well for NZ and Ireland but it will be very difficult for W.R to enforce this considering the amount of money in club rugby now.

        • December 14th 2017 @ 11:04am
          richard said | December 14th 2017 @ 11:04am | ! Report

          Agree with this SD,but good luck getting the northern hemisphere to agree.Particularly points 2/3.

          • December 15th 2017 @ 2:09am
            Bakkies said | December 15th 2017 @ 2:09am | ! Report

            Point 3 is illegal under European law to impose on off contract players that are signed. I don’t know how many times this needs to be said so people stop randomly suggesting it.

            On 4 Ireland already has central contracts. Joe Schmidt prefers to select players based in Ireland.

            There is already gate money given to those unions the Celtic countries give any more considering they are running at a heavy loss and in Ireland’s case barely breaking even (the last report there was a loss made).

        • December 15th 2017 @ 1:06pm
          mania said | December 15th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          like +1
          totally disagree with 1 cos this just means that islanders will just wait longer to play for ABs.
          but all your other points i love and i’ve been spouting the same for decades.
          a big problem for samoa is the corruption from governance. that will take long term to fix, if possible at all. but letting Samoans who have played for other countries for the money should be allowed to give back to Samoa (insert any of the island nations here)

          • December 15th 2017 @ 1:15pm
            mania said | December 15th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            else what will happen and i explain this to some of the gifted children i coach; they can score a huge french/japanese/UK contract , opt to play for samoa/ fiji/ tonga and then they’ll be making big money (providing for their family) as well as still playing international rugby. only downside is they would have to leave home, but somewhere like south of france wouldnt be too painful

        • December 18th 2017 @ 11:50am
          P2R2 said | December 18th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          …3. Introduce Transfer Fees so that countries of origin benefit from players they have created and developed….

          This is the very best idea….once transfer fees are set in concrete – see all the NH teams forking out mega-bucks…to PI player nations – and of course that will include AUS and NZ…

          • December 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm
            richard said | December 18th 2017 @ 12:53pm | ! Report

            I think we would all like this,but in the real world simply won’t happen.Pretty much all the talent goes one way i.e north.Why would they saddle themselves with the burden of extra costs?

      • December 15th 2017 @ 8:53am
        Brainstrust said | December 15th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        Pacific islands per nation received less funding from the IRB, a third of what the already wealthy six and four nations receive.
        England have a 400m dollar a year budget and also receive 3 times the money from the IRB, but lets all pretend 1.5 million a year is a lot money.
        Pacific islands are all too low population, and low GDP per capita to make local revenue.
        With such low levels of funding its crazy to try and run a fully international team.
        They are better off having a local team and a NZ based team like samoa used to have in the old days.
        That way you don;t have to pay travel costs, to fly players in from all around the world is extremely expensive.
        Club rugby moving their players all around the world has made the return of a regular force like the old nZ based Western Samoa a pipe dream.
        They should save their money, and assemble their best team once every four years for the world cup and use that money to pay players. There is no use worrying about eligibility rules when the pay is zero and other nations can pay in the millions.
        Rugby’s figures for registered players around the world are a fairy tale, PAcific islands and New Zealand are the only places which would be accurate.. . Pacific islands have a large player base locally, and their emigrant population forms a large part of the player base in Australia and new Zealand.
        As far as stadiums CHina has paid for their stadiums.

        • December 18th 2017 @ 11:52am
          P2R2 said | December 18th 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

          …and their emigrant population forms a large part of the player base in Australia and new Zealand….

          that is true in part because the player population base in NZ are BORN in NZ.. and there are alot of them….and some in AUS…NZ contributes more NZ-born players to the Samoan Team than the Samoan-born players….so go figure…

    • December 14th 2017 @ 10:50am
      garmos said | December 14th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report

      I would like to see a floating stadium that could be placed at Tonga, Samoa or Fiji. then again I have been called a dreamer!

      • December 14th 2017 @ 3:24pm
        Rhys Bosley said | December 14th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

        That would be coooooool! Give Clive Palmer a call maybe?

      • December 15th 2017 @ 3:48pm
        woodart said | December 15th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        best idea here. yanks must have an old aircraft carrier lying around.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 14th 2017 @ 10:57am
      kasi apuula said | December 14th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

      One of the biggest issues which have been brought up plenty of time is corruption. Money just magically disappears.

      W.R tried to provide some advice with the selection of their new coach for Samoa. However Samoa decided to go for the same man who was criticised in 2011 for inviting his friends and family to the team hotel and using the money given by the Samoan people to pay for dinners.

      • December 14th 2017 @ 6:21pm
        DavSA said | December 14th 2017 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

        That is a sad comment . But it does not legitimise World Rugby’s lack of commitment to Pacific Island Rugby . Almost exactly the same can be said of WR’s expansion or rather lack thereof to Zimbabwe , Kenya and Uganda. All three of these countries with better infrastructure are very capable of producing fantastic teams. Yet we see a huge drive into Japanese rugby which with all due respect would be absolutely nowhere without their expensive imports.

        • December 15th 2017 @ 2:13am
          Bakkies said | December 15th 2017 @ 2:13am | ! Report

          Corruption is the same reason holding back Zim and Kenya. Those unions have been or were threatened with suspension due to Government interference and mismanagement. Now with Mugabe gone in Zim you might start to see their sport rise again. They have been given more tours in the proposed ICC future tours program.

          • Roar Rookie

            December 15th 2017 @ 9:49am
            kasi apuula said | December 15th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

            It is sad DavSA but unfortunate that is the reality. Yes with better infrastructure any nation will be able to produce great teams but when money that is supposed to be used for that infrastructure is pocketed by the government like it is in Samoa then what are W.R suppose to do? Keep sending money in hopes they may change their ways? Its hard to help those who don’t want to help themselves.

            Thats just a stupid comment regarding Japan. They have been building over the years and yes their imports have help but it has not been the main factor.

    • December 14th 2017 @ 1:09pm
      Perthstayer said | December 14th 2017 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

      Everyone seems to agree that efforts are not working. But responses can be well meaning ideas like this article, or else many people throw about stats and insinuate “we’re trying but they’re not helping themselves”.

      WR has to keep returning to the drawing board and review where their efforts are succeeding/failing. Then they have to adapt accordingly.

      We will not know what the right solutions are until many have been tried and the good ones win through.

    • December 14th 2017 @ 6:27pm
      DavSA said | December 14th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

      And 1,5m annually is pathetic . An English or French club spends more than that on one player each season.

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