Rugby: 'This is make or break for Pacific Island rugby' - Pacific Rugby Players Welfare CEO Daniel Leo

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont's olive branch to Fiji has been described by an independent pacific players union as a step forward, but more needs to be done, according to chief executive of Pacific Rugby Players Welfare Daniel Leo.

On Monday (NZ time), Beaumont called for a meeting to discuss the future of the international game, after widespread criticism of the governing body's World League proposals.

Leading figures from rugby's 'tier one' countries, along with Fiji, Japan and player representatives, will meet at the end of the month.

However, Newshub understands that meeting was scheduled as far back as three months ago, before the new proposal had come to light.

"Why isn't there representation at this meeting from the rest of the tier two countries?" Leo queried with Newshub. "Your Georgias, Samoas, Tongas, Canadas.

"Are we promoting equality and trying to grow the game here, or is it about an elitist few, and protecting the 'old boys' club?"

Pacific Rugby Players Welfare has floated the possibility of a World Cup boycott, and the idea remains on the table.

The organisation says a quarter of all players in Japan this year will be of Pacific Island heritage.

"You take that out and the Rugby World Cup is on its knees. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

"This is make or break for Pacific Island rugby and the bravery of Pacific Island players because our unions aren't strong enough to stand up to the World Rugby juggernaut, and World Rugby don't have our best interests at heart."

Former Samoa international Pat Lam has also weighed in on the controversial new concept.

"It's shocking," said Lam. "Look at the Pacific Islanders and what they've brought. You look at all the teams - every team even in the Northern Hemisphere - you've got Tongans, Samoan and Fijians."


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