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Friday, January 13, 2006

 

Other competitions: Pacific gets a "High Five"


Source: News24.com

The International Rugby Board (IRB) on Thursday announced the format of the Pacific Five Nations tournament that will involve the national teams from Tier 2 Unions Fiji, Japan, Samoa, and Tonga plus a NZ representative side.

The tournament will kick-off in June 2006 and the initiative is part of the $50m strategic investment programme for the game that was launched in August 2005.

"The IRB strategic investment programme involves high performance, tournament and infrastructure initiatives across the 17 Tier 1 and 2 Unions that are designed to increase the competitiveness of international rugby.

The establishment of an expanded Pacific Nations tournament represents one element of the provision of enhanced competition platforms for Tier 2 Nations," said IRB Pacific Island Advisory Committee chairperson Bob Tuckey.

"The tournament will kick off in 2006 and will involve five teams - Fiji, Japan, Samoa, Tonga and the Junior All Blacks. Each Union will play four matches, two home and two away, during the traditional June/July Test window. "

"An initial three-year programme of fixtures has been confirmed among the five Unions and the IRB believes it can develop a viable commercial programme for the competition. The tournament schedule will be announced in mid February."

Availability of players


"Australia were asked to be a part of the new competition but they are currently reviewing their domestic playing programme and the possible establishment of an inter-provincial competition.

"This would obviously have a bearing on the availability of players for the Pacific Nations tournament in the June/July period and therefore Australia will not participate at this juncture.

"While this is disappointing the competition promises to be a high quality one giving the Tier 2 Unions much needed additional matches leading into the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

"That said the format of the tournament is not set in concrete and the format could be changed in the future to accommodate teams from other member Unions.

"This would create additional matches for the Tier 2 Unions to provide them with even more competition."

In addition to the new Pacific Five Nations tournament the IRB is working with the Pacific Island Unions to establish a Pacific Triangular Championship that will provide regular competition for emerging players in the Islands. The tournament will involve two representative regional teams from each of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and it will kick-off on April 15 this year.

The tournament will be played on a home or away basis over five rounds with one final. The coaches and team management are presently being appointed by the Unions and the draw and team names will be formally announced in the near future.

This Tournament will follow on from the conclusion of Fiji's Colonial Cup, Samoa's National Provincial Championship and Tonga's Datec Cup Provincial Championship. It will be from those competitions that the six representative teams to compete in the Triangular series will be selected.

"This new competition presents a marvellous opportunity for the 60 best locally-based players in each Union to gain experience in a higher level competition and press their claims for National selection", Tuckey added.

Comments:
This is good news for the pacific teams. These countries can only benefit from more competetive rugby.  
Rather late than never, these chaps deserve it. Its also long overdue that the Argies get looked after.  
Aldo,

Even better, the winner plays the 3N winner
 
This will help the Islanders sweet blue fanny mchattan- it will only grow the pool of future all Blacks even bigger.  
Cynical OO


Very cynical.

Would like to hear Patrick's take on this.

Pity also that the Argentinians aren't involved in this either.
 
Yip DavidS

but am I wrong?
 
I suppose not.  
The best comp them would have been, something similar to the S14. The winner qualifies to play in the SH 5 nations against SA, NZ, Aus and Arg.  
I think you might have it wrong. The reason the players from the Pacific Islands play overseas, is because their unions have no money to pay them enough, so they play for another country. With more international competition, they will finally have the revenue to keep their players. They will still lose out, but this is a step in the right direction.  
I agree Aldo, but there's nothing to stop the lure of the Aus$/NZ$ and a better quality of life there.

I agree with donner though.


That format would have been better thanthis 'expanded' 3N competition.
 
OO,

you are missing something here buddy.

once these okes run out for their national teams, it would make them inelligable to play for any other country under IRB laws.

but a comp, unless supported through sponsorships and extensive TV coverage, that sounds more like a hand me down.
 
PA

If a level 2 competition means that illegibility sure, but what is the chance that if they are called the Samoan Strongmen & Fidji Flyers that they might not be capped for their country.

I am playing TeufelsAdvocaat here but the All Black administrators are crafty and the IRB are their lapdogs it seems.

I hope that you are right and I am wrong in this instance.
 
OO

That lapdogs remark is for certain the truth!!!!!

We field Tonderai Chavanga and get fined $1 000 000 and docked 18 points.

They field an inelligible player and NOTHING happens.

Technically SARU should have withdrawn from the coimp at that point in protest..... but it seems we're too scared of being controversial when reality is that the kind of nations that support our view are by far the majority in the IRB...
 
OO,

under current irb laws even second tier countries such as canada, japan etc all fall under this law, hell even namibia is seeing the consequences of this with local players turning down opportunities to play for their country because that would mean they do not qualify to play for the boks!!

kees as an example.

as i understand the comp it will be the nations themselves represented at this tournament, not some cavalier hogwash, but i get the feeling the islanders will do what namibians are currently doing, turn down the opportunity to play for their country in order to stay eligable for NZ...
 
Nothing Has Changed !

Whilst it is at least small step forward, there is still the problem of who will play in these teams.

There is not really a problem with Fiji as it has always had a fairly robust local competition and has been under the IRB umbrella for a very long time.

So far as the Samoans are concerned, I don't anticipate any change at all. I don't think there will be even one player selected from the Samoan local competition. The Samoan team will comprise of the usual, ie, about 40% from the NZ club teams in Auckland and Wellington, about 20% from the OZ local comps, and the rest from Samoans playing in the Euro competition, because they can't get a run in any of the NZ/OZ teams. So nothing has changed at all, but I'm happy to see a satelite comp for them to play in.

As someone else has said, not many Polynesians are going to commit themselves to this team if they fancy they have a hope of making it with any of the NZ/OZ divisional teams. They will not throw away a chance for playing at the highest level, than play for a country that they don't even reside in, pay taxes in, or anything else.

Most Samoans are very ambitious and they do want to shoot for the highest prize, the days of ANY prize has long gone.

However, after 3 years it will be obvious as to whether to continue this comp or not. I have absolutely no doubt that the best players will still want to play for the AB's/OZ,

Patrick.
 
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