New Zealand Rugby, in partnership with their government, has reportedly conducted a feasibility study to determine if the Pacific Islands should get a Super Rugby team.
According to the Newshub website, the New Zealand government is funding the $80,000 study, carried out by Jeremy Curragh, a respected rugby commercial operative.
The proposed Pacific Islands team will be made up of players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and would be based in Suva, Fiji, but also play home games in Samoa, Tonga, Auckland and Sydney.
The team would be set up as an independent franchise and enter the competition in 2021.
‘Part of the plan is that rugby can be a diplomatic force to counter China’s influence in the Pacific,’ the report said.
‘The idea is that rugby will help keep hearts and minds away from China, which is saturating the region with money to obtain influence.’
A potential stumbling block for the proposal, according to Stuff.co.nz, is whether South African teams would be willing to play in Suva, given that they already find travelling to Australia and New Zealand strenuous.
Super Rugby faces a possible change in format from 2020 when the current broadcast deal ends. There are also reports that South African teams are looking at the option of leaving Super Rugby and joining European club competitions.
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