Stars call for Pacific Island eligibility rule change

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 07:51
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Momentum is growing among All Blacks to lobby World Rugby to allow them to represent the Pacific Island nations of their heritage.

Last week Charles Piutau and Frank Halai declared their intention to make themsleves available for Tonga, albeit through a convoluted path of playing in Olympic Sevens tournaments.

"I have told the Tongan coach I would be on board if there’s a way to do it," Piutau told the Daily Mail.

"If our sport followed the Rugby League model, it would be a massive boost for the Pacific Islands and it would make the world stage competitive again. There's a lot of wasted talent. The Rugby League boys put Tonga back on the map and union should do the same thing."

Now other All Blacks Victor Vito and Sam Tuitupou has also joined the chorus.

"I made my bed with the All Blacks so I wouldn't want to take away the opportunity or development of a player who deserves it more, but I would love to play for Samoa." said Vito, who now plays for La Rochelle.

Tuitupou believes the change could be the catalyst to change Samoa's current financial strife, which saw it declare bankruptcy last month.

"Samoa have been declared bankrupt so if Ma'a Nonu or Steven Luatua came on board, that would attract a bit of sponsorship. If we don't have guys like Steven and Charles Piutau competing at the World Cup, then we can't say it's a showcase of the world’s best talent."

By RugbyPass