14 Jun 2016

Sport: World Rugby reaffirms commitment to Pacific

11:44 am on 14 June 2016

World Rugby's Rugby Committee has reaffirmed its commitment to the sustainable progress of Pacific Islands rugby following meetings in Nadi, Fiji over the past few days.

The committee heard from the Fiji, Samoa and Tonga rugby unions regarding high performance matters and the future challenges and opportunities in each country.

The Pacific Island Players' Association also made a presentation.

The Rugby Committee, chaired by John Jeffrey and attended by incoming World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont and Vice-Chairman Agustin Pichot, agreed that the current support programmes for the three main Pacific unions should be strengthened.

Incoming World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont with vice-chair Agustin Pichot.

Incoming World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont with vice-chair Agustin Pichot. Photo: INPHO/Billy Stickland

World Rugby invested more than $US38 million in Samoa, Fiji and Tonga during the previous World Cup cycle and will invest a further $US5.7 million towards high performance and development programmes in 2016.

The committee also agreed to review a number of key issues affecting rugby in the Pacific Islands:

- Future high performance investment levels

- Conduct of agents

- Player movement regulations

- Player eligibility regulations

- Future competition pathways

- Player release regulations

- Conduct of non-union rugby academies

Rugby Committee Chairman Jeffrey said: "The Pacific Islands hold a special place in rugby's rich history and indeed rugby's future. These positive and highly-constructive meetings gave the committee a unique opportunity to consider the opportunities and challenges faced by the Islands and to drive a process that will sit alongside ongoing governance reforms to deliver a blueprint for a prosperous game for each of the unions."