Pacific Rugby Players CEO Aayden Clarke believes it would be “utopia” to have two Pacific Islands teams join a new-look Super Rugby competition in 2022 that will feature 12 teams.
After a number of false starts, it now appears the Moana Pasifika bid, backed by former All Blacks Sir Bryan Williams and Sir Michael Jones, backed by New Zealand Rugby would be one of the teams along with Fiji. The Fiji Rugby Union has, according to RNZ, been tasked with basing a franchise out of Suva.
The two Pacific Islands teams would join the existing five teams from New Zealand and five from Australia – with the Western Force returning in a revamped competition.
“From our perspective that’s utopia, that’s the ultimate result is to have two teams involved, given the famine that we’ve had in the past,” said Clarke.” We’ll just bite it off and chew it and everybody muck in. For the right cause it’s not insurmountable and we will be able to get everybody there.
“I was on a call with the NZR last night around that and it’s looking really encouraging and if we get this across the line New Zealand, Australia, all the stakeholders, Players Associations and the Unions, it’s going to be a really significant moment for Pacific Island Rugby.
“Having one there with Fiji, who’ve got a strong player base and very good high-performance systems already set up.
“From now we’ll keep our finger on the pulse and make sure that at every step these two organisations [offer genuine engagement]. Obviously Fiji have a very strong inclination anyway but working alongside World Rugby and making sure that they dovetail into the high-performance plans so we end up with a better Fiji, Samoa and Tonga at the next World Cup.
“That’s exactly what these Super Rugby teams will play a role in…and the appetite to make it all work is shared across the board.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now