A professional rugby competition in the United States is on the lookout for more players from the Pacific Islands.
Major League Rugby completed its inaugural season last month with the Seattle Seawolves beating the Glendale Raptors in the grand final.
Former Fiji sevens captain Osea Kolinisau (Houston SaberCats) and ‘Ikale Tahi first five Kurt Morath (Utah Warriors) were among the Pacific players to feature in the debut Major League Rugby campaign.
The competition’s top try-scorer, Tonata Lauti, was born in Tonga before moving to Salt Lake City with his family in 1996.
In a press conference in Apia this week, the president and owner of Austin Elite Rugby, which runs the fledgling competition, Richard Osborn, said he was on his way to Fiji to look at Fijian players.
However a chance meeting with the son of former Manu Samoa player, Arona Palamo, diverted him to Samoa to scout for talent.
Palamo said he managed a few Samoa players who played in the league and was looking forward to helping Austin Elite with their local recruitment.
This was a different opportunity for local Pacific players who don’t have an overseas contract, Osborn said.
The players immigration needs would be met by the teams who recruited them, he said.
“This also applies to accommodation and monetary compensation.”
Close to 40 players from the Pacific could be recruited under current competition rules, Osborn said.