30 Nov 2010

IRB eligibility snub mystifies Pacific countries

11:33 am on 30 November 2010

The Fiji Rugby Union has expressed disappointment that a proposal to relax eligibility laws in favour of Pacific countries has been rejected by the International Rugby Board.

A proposal was tabled last year to allow players from Tier One nations, such as New Zealand or Wales, to stand down for one year and then play for a Tier Two nation.

It would have allowed the likes of former All Blacks Jerry Collins, Chris Masoe and Kevin Senio to play for Samoa and strengthen the depth of international rugby.

It was rejected, modified and put to the vote again last week but once again failed to garner enough support.

Fiji Rugby's Operations Manager, Vilikesa Rinavuaka, says even though Samoa and Tonga would have likely benefited more than them they're still at a loss to explain the reluctance of the IRB to

"It's hard to understand what the IRB is trying to do withholding those players. These players are no longer needed for the All Blacks or Australia or whoever. They've elected to stand and wish to pursue an international career with the country of birth or country of origin - why not let them. I mean I don't see the sense in stopping them, but that's an IRB decision and it has to be respected at the end of the day."