Tongans could play alongside rivals if combined Pacific rugby team goes ahead

‘E timi taha e fānau ‘akapulu Tonga, Ha’amoa mo Fisi kapau ‘e tu’ulāhoko ai pe e fokotu’utu’u ‘a Nu’u Sila ke ‘i ai ha fo’i timi fakatahataha ‘a e ‘otu motu Pasifiki’ni ke hū hake ‘o kau he fe’auhi Super Rugby. Kuo hanga ‘e he Potungāue ki Muli ‘a Nu’u Sila’ mo e Fefakatau’aki’ ‘o totongi ha pa’anga ‘e $80,000 ke fakapa’anga ’aki ha fekumi ki hano malava fakahoko ‘a e fakakaukau’ ni. Ko ‘ene tu’u he taimi ni’ ko e timi ‘e 15 fakakātoa ‘oku kau ki he Super Rugby ‘o kau ki ai ‘a e ngaahi timi mei ‘Aositelēlia, Nu’u Sila, Siapani, Saute ‘Afilika mo ‘Āsenitina. Pea ka lava ai pe ‘a e fakakaukau’ ni ‘e ‘alu hake leva e tokolahi ‘o e ngaahi timi’ ki he 16.

Tongan rugby players could be playing alongside traditional rivals Samoa and Fiji if a proposal for a combined Pacific Islands team goes ahead.

The proposed team would compete in the  Super Rugby competition.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign affairs and Trade paid $80,000 for a feasibility study into the proposal.

The plan has gone to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for consideration.

Chair of the Pacific Players Association chair Tevita Hale Nai Tu’uhoko welcomed the move.

“For so long now that we’ve been in the back seat with Super Rugby, and now it’s about time that we were in charge,” the former Tongan and Ninternational player said.

“Sport is an integral part of the cultures of many Pacific Islands countries and the New Zealand aid programme recognises it can be an effective vehicle for development in the region,” an MFAT spokesperson said.

The spokesperson says MFAT has not committed to supporting start-up costs or operating capital for any possible future team.

Sceptics have argued that the Pacific could not support a combined team in a Super Rugby Franchise.

However, more than a million people live in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, more than New Zealand’s South Island, which supports two Super Rugby franchises.

It is also four times the population of the Australian Capital Territory, home to the Brumbies.

There are also 300,000 New Zealanders and 170,000 Australians of Pacific Island heritage.

Supporters of the idea of a combined Pacific team have suggested that the number of supporters could reach  many millions if Papua New Guinea was included.

The main points

  • Tongan rugby players could be playing alongside traditional rivals Samoa and Fiji if a proposal for a combined Pacific Islands team goes ahead.
  • The proposed team would would compete in the Super Rugby competition.
  • The plan has gone to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for consideration.

For more information 

Revealed: NZ Govt’s secret plan to set up Pacific Islands Super Rugby team

Why Nemani Nadolo’s plea for a Pacific Islands team would give Super Rugby a real boost

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