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Pacific Island Nations Considering Boycott Of 2019 Rugby World Cup

Pacific Island Nations Considering Boycott Of 2019 Rugby World Cup
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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The Pacific Island nations of Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga are considering a boycott of this autumn's Rugby World Cup in protest to proposed changes to the world rugby calendar. A new 12-team tournament has been proposed by the sport's governing body, which could take place form 2020 onwards.

The tournament would be run in every non-World Cup year, and would feature the Six Nations teams, the Rugby Championship teams, as well as Japan and USA. Crucially, none of the three Pacific Island nations would be included under the current proposal.


While some of the biggest names in rugby have already spoke out against the proposal, the Pacific Rugby Players' Welfare have now also joined that group.

The organisation represents around 600 players, and released a statement earlier today saying that they are 'discussing and debating a motion proposed by a group of senior Test-playing representatives that members make themselves unavailable for the 2019 Rugby World Cup'.

Head of the organisation Daniel Leo also told BBC Sport that this tournament makes it "abundantly clear that World Rugby has failed the genuine rugby fan", and that smaller nations must take a stand:

Now is the time for the voice of Pacific rugby to be heard through our players...

The days of colonialism are long behind us but this model that they're proposing is more reminiscent of those days.

We want to be known as a progressive sport - one that's inclusive, one that allows sides to be promoted and allows sides to have equal opportunity - but the signs are a bit ominous.

Everyone plays this game to progress and if there's a ceiling to how well you can do in this game then smaller nations probably just shouldn't play in the first place. I feel we're at a real crossroads in the sport.

With such clear opposition at this early stage, it is looking increasingly likely that this tournament is a non-starter.


SEE ALSO: Gatland Explains The Differences Between Dealing With Welsh And Irish Players

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