A former All Black and Samoan international says the inclusion of a Pacific Island Super Rugby team could help breathe new life into the competition and develop the game in the islands.
Ofisa Tonu’u told TVNZ1’s Breakfast this morning he was excited by the news the New Zealand Government and New Zealand Rugby had funded a $80,000 feasibility study.
“Pacific Island players have been contributing to rugby for many years… there’s so many who have contributed to our game internationally.”
The former Blues halfback says the potential team could help reignite rugby in the Pacific, with the national teams slipping in the world rankings in recent years.
“Samoa rugby was strong so it was competitive on the world stage and now we’re falling off – 16th ranking in the world.
“Tonga is 13th and Fiji is 10th so this will help that growth.”
While Tonu’u doesn’t know how the team will be funded, he has an idea on who could come to the party to get the team off the ground.
“There were investors that were looking at investing in the Warriors – maybe they’d like to come over and put some of that money into the Pacific Island team!”
Newshub first reported last night the government and NZR were working on a proposal to introduce the team which would be based in Suva but also play home games in Samoa, Tonga, Auckland and Sydney.
The team would reportedly be established as an independent franchise and enter the competition in 2021.