Two-time Rugby World Cup quarter finalists Samoa would also be left in the international rugby wilderness.

Manu Samoa captain Chris Vui said the lack of any promotion-relegation opportunity for countries outside of the invited teams would be extremely damaging.

“For countries in this bracket and for Pacific Islanders in particular, our biggest issue has always been the ‘club vs country’ factor,” he said.

“A 12-year deal is not workable, particularly when it presents no hope of advancement for during that period. This will have a dangerous knock-on effect of luring senior players away from their countries and more towards the clubs, which is the exact opposite of what we’re all trying to achieve.”

Former Manu Samoa midfielder Seilala Mapusua said excluding the Pacific Island nations would send the wrong message to aspiring players in the region.

“There are young 18-year-old Pacific Island players who will look at this and see that they will not be able to play against the big teams in the big stadiums for their whole career,” he said.

“Twelve years locked out of this competition will mean more players choosing to play for New Zealand, England or other, because they will not see as much value playing for their home island nation.”


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