Michael Jones: Less Talk, More Action Needed For Pacific Island Rugby

The legendary flanker says, after 16 years of Pacific Rugby discussion nothing has materialised
11 Nov 2019 13:57
Michael Jones: Less Talk, More Action Needed For Pacific Island Rugby
All Blacks legend and Rugby World Cup winner Michael Jones during the Oceania Rugby 7s Championship at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on November 9, 2019. Jones who was dubbed the ‘Iceman’ during the height of his rugby career is determined to help in the development of Pacific Rugby. Photo: Simione Haravanua

Legendary All Blacks flanker Michael Jones believes that Pacific Island nations need more competition to gain exposure ahead of big tournaments like the Rugby World Cup.

Speaking to SUNsports, Jones said the Flying Fijians, Manu Samoa and the Ikale Tahi Tonga have what it takes to match Tier One teams if they are giving more game time against quality teams.

“We need to have credible competitive competitions that our boys can play on a regular basis and also we need to keep them in the region,” he said.

“There’s a need to have more of that. There is a lot of discussions being held right now with World Rugby, down to SANZAR and Oceania about making sure there are some competitions.

“This is to ensure that our players come the next world cup have been exposed to top-level rugby on a regular basis.

“It has to be competitive enough for them to be just as good as Japan at the World cup.”

Jones said for our players to stay and play in the region involves a mixture of things to be done.

‘Like the remuneration requirements to support themselves, their wives, kids, their families and their village. So as of now, I think competition is the number one thing that we are still trying to solve.

“At the same time whilst we had good discussions with World Rugby but we need to see that crystalised sooner rather than later. It has to happen really quickly.”

Jones said while he was coaching Samoa they had discussed this 16 years ago but so far nothing has materialised.

However, Jones said at the same time there have been some positives as well

He highlighted the Fijian Drua playing in the National Rugby Championship and now the Global Rapid Rugby.

“The GRR is another stepping stone where Fiji and Samoa will participate and we are going to make sure that Tonga is also there.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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