Nadolo: Super Rugby needs a Pacific Islands side
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Fiji star wing Nemani Nadolo has urged SANZAAR to introduce a Pacific Island team to the competition.
The Super Rugby competition has undergone a lot of modifications in the last two years. After expanding to 18 teams with the introduction of Jaguares from Argentina and Sunwolves from Japan - the competition has reverted to a 15-team system in 2018.
The Cheetahs and Kings from South Africa, as well as the Perth-based Force, were removed with the former two South African franchises finding a new home in Europe’s Pro 14 competition.
While Force will play in Andrew Forrest’s proposed Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, which has been earmarked to kick off in 2019.
The current Super Rugby broadcast deal expires at the end of 2019 and planning is well underway to determine the shape and structure of the competition going forward.
According to Foxsports, it is more likely that SANZAAR will turn their attention to the Pacific - a phenomenon former Crusaders wing Nadolo fully supports.
"In Samoa, in Tonga and in Fiji they idolise Super Rugby," Naholo told foxsports from France.
"They watch more Super Rugby than their heroes who play in Europe.
"If you took a game to Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji and put the ticket prices down, you’re going to get numbers through and it’ll bring everyone together.
"It’s what the island nations need at the moment.
"We need a team that’s going to put us back on the map and Super Rugby would be the ideal competition,"
Thus far, the Pacific Islanders have proven they are equipped to host Super Rugby events.
Fiji has hosted successful Super Rugby matches between the Chiefs and Crusaders over the last two years, while Samoa also hosted a Reds v Blues match last year.
The Highlanders and Chiefs will play in Suva this season.
Nadolo, 30, added that his preference would be a combined Pacific Islands team so that all the regions’ resources could be pulled together.
"If you’re going to put an Islander team or Fijian team, I’d combine a Samoan, Tongan, Fijian mixture because we’re probably limited to what we can do and all our players all play overseas," Nadolo said.
"A Pacific Islander team would be ideal because having one country is probably not fair to us — we’re all in the same league in terms of infrastructure, rugby-wise and resources — so if we can combine with one force and attack Super Rugby it would be pretty exciting to see and you’re going to get more numbers and more interest from the Pacific Islander community,"