Rugby

World Rugby boss backs Pacific Islands team

2017-06-29 19:17
Bill Beaumont (Getty)

Cape Town - World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont supports calls for a professional side to be established in the Pacific Islands in a bid to prevent players from leaving for greener pastures.

“I think we need to find a home for them, certainly,” Beaumont told Fox Sports.

“They are exports that are rugby players.”

Beaumont made these comments on a brief visit to Australia from New Zealand, where he is attending the British and Irish Lions' Test series against the All Blacks.

It is estimated that there are currently 200 Pacific Island players who are plying their trade in Europe, particularly France, and there are also plenty of islanders playing in Australia and New Zealand.

The Wallabies had six Fiji-born players in their squad for during the recent mid-year Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

“Well they’re being taken away from home, not necessarily all to Europe (but) they go away from home,” added Beaumont.

Fiji's former Sevens coach, Ben Ryan, told the BBC last year that the Pacific Islands had become the “Wild West” and that some agents could easily lure players away on false promises.

“There are dodgy agents and people on the islands cutting deals and taking backhanders,” he said.

“There are some terrible agents, mainly the ones that have been kicked out of Australia and New Zealand.

“They end up trying to get Islanders across, saying how they helped them. It’s the opposite. I’ve had players left high and dry.

“Where there is un-regulation, you’re going to get cowboys out there that don’t care and are just looking to make a quick buck.”

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