The Pacific Rugby Players Welfare organisation has come out in support of World Rugby president Bill Beaumont’s call to allow internationally capped players to represent the Pacific Island nations.
In his re-election manifesto, incumbent World Rugby president Beaumont had suggested he would clear the way for ex-All Blacks, such as Charles Piutau (Tonga), Steven Luatua (Samoa) and Waisake Naholo (Fiji) to represent Pacific nations.
In his manifesto, Beaumont called for a review of the current regulation preventing players from representing more than one nation, ‘to see how we can support the longevity of players’ international careers’.
Former Samoa Test lock Dan Leo, who is now the chief executive of Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, said he backed Beaumont’s comments, but would not get too excited until the regulation was actually implemented.
‘To have a player like Charles Piutau coming back would have an immediate impact. Three or four of those sorts of players coming back changes the outlook of your whole team. And then, when they are back, it would attract sponsors too,’ Leo said.
‘I totally support Bill in this, but I am reluctant to get too excited about a promised review; I’d be more excited if there was a promise of change. This regulation has been reviewed in the past and this is still where we are.’
If the initiative is implemented in future, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga’s Test squad could be significantly bolstered.
All Blacks Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, George Moala, Frank Halai and Augustine Pulu and former Wallabies Sitaleki Timani and Colby Fainga’a will be available for Tonga.
Fiji would be able to select All Blacks Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu, England Test players Nathan Hughes and Semesa Rokoduguni, and former Wallabies wing Henry Speight.
Meanwhile Samoa could call on Jerome Kaino, Victor Vito, Charlie Faumuina, John Afoa and Steven Luatua, Lima Sopoaga, Julian Savea, Ma’a Nonu, and Isaia Toeava.
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