15 Apr 2015

Sport: Pacific rugby nations urged to work together

11:32 am on 15 April 2015

The International Rugby Players Association says Pacific countries need to work together in an effort to try and combat the continued threat from cashed up foreign clubs.

Close to 600 players with Pacific Islands heritage have professional contracts around the world, which is about 15 percent of all full-time players.

The bulk of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga internationals ply their trade in Europe, while French clubs have established academies in Fiji to capture players in their local system.

Rob Nichol from the International Rugby Players Association says there have been discussions about Pacific nations protecting their home-grown players and the best way to combat the problem is working together.

"Because it is affecting them all and I think sharing of information and knowledge and understanding how we can learn of what are the challenges we are all facing together, and what's working in one country might be able to be transported to another. I think this is something there needs to be more conversations around. These issues are affecting Fiji, they are affecting Samoa, they are affecting Tonga significantly so I think there needs to be more conversations, from a southern hemipshere perspective, about how we work together to deal with these issued, definitely".

Rob Nicol says the financial pulling power of cashed-up European clubs is a bubble that won't burst.