As Pacific Rugby Players Welfare strive to change World Rugby’s eligibility rules, they recently shared what the Fiji, Samoa and Tonga teams could each look like if players were allowed to switch allegiance to the countries of their heritage and ancestry.
This may become a reality for former All Blacks Charles Piutau and Malakai Fekitoa, who could switch to represent Tonga by playing in an Olympic qualifying event in June, although there are certain hurdles which may prevent that from happening.
PRPW shared the three teams on Twitter, and they would see a considerable influx of Australia and New Zealand internationals.
Current eligibility laws aside- who would feature in your Invitational Pacific Island XV’s (based on heritage & ancestry)?
Here are our picks ????????? pic.twitter.com/JBrWQvywny
— PacificRugbyWelfare (@pacificwelfare) April 7, 2021
For Fiji, All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman and No8 Hoskins Sotutu would join a pack that already has the likes of Leone Nakarawa and Peceli Yato in it. In the backline, France’s Virimi Vakatawa could partner Semi Radradra in the centres, with Wallaby Marika Koroibete on the wing. All Black Sevu Reece and Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi are also bench option in this team.
For Samoa, the pack is made of seven current or former All Blacks, and one Australia international, prop Scott Sio. Those seven are Asafo Aumua, Nepo Laulala, Patrick Tuipulotu, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Ardie Savea and former All Black Steven Luatua.
Three more All Blacks feature in the backs, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane, as well as the incoming Roger Tuivasa-Sheck from league. Australia’s Matt Toomua and England’s Manu Tuilagi also feature in the backline, with Wallaby Jordan Petaia on the bench.
The Tonga team would see a similar surge in players as the Samoan squad, with three Australia internationals featuring in the pack, Folau Fainga’a, Taniela Tupou and Adam Coleman; Tupou Vaa’i and Shannon Frizell from the All Blacks; as well as Wales No8 Taulupe Faletau and England prop Mako Vunipola.
The forwards on the bench for Tonga are fearsome as well, with Karl Tu’inukuafe, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Vaea Fifita from the All Blacks, England’s Billy Vunipola and Australia’s Tolu Latu.
The Tongan backline also contains five All Blacks, Richie Mo’unga, Ngani Laumape and David Havili, as well as potential dual internationals Fekitoa and Piutau.
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