SPORTS | Sunvoice

Big Bucks Dictate How Things Go In World Of Rugby

Editorial: When John O’Connor talks about the difficulty in getting overseas-based Fijian players, especially in New Zealand, to play for Fiji, it’s not a surprise. This is the modern-day reality
17 Jun 2020 15:02
Big Bucks Dictate How Things Go In World Of Rugby
From left: Hoskins Sotutu, Peter Gus and Suliasi Vunivalu.

Editorial:

When John O’Connor talks about the difficulty in getting overseas-based Fijian players, especially in New Zealand, to play for Fiji, it’s not a surprise.

This is the modern-day reality in the sport – that big bucks dictate how things go in the world of rugby.

The same thing happens in rugby league. As we speak, Wallabies new coach Dave Rennie has been talking to Melbourne Storm star winger Suliasi Vunivalu about his switch to rugby union later this year.

There has been speculation that the financial crisis facing the Australian Rugby Union because of COVID-19 could affect Vunivalu’s move,

Mr O’Connor has highlighted the cases of two of New Zealand’s rising stars Blues Number 8 Hoskins Sotutu and Chiefs Number 8 Pita Gus Sowakula.

Both Fijians would fit in nicely into Vern Cotter’s squad as he plans for the next World Cup.

They are young and would be exceptionally good with more game time and experience barring injury and a drop in performance.

They were praised by Kiwi rugby experts for their standout performance as Super Rugby restarted with outstanding success last weekend after the COVID-19 lockdown. Sotutu was instrumental in the Blues emphatic win against the Hurricanes before a sellout crowd at Eden Park in Auckland. Sowakula featured prominently in the Chiefs one-point loss to the Highlanders.

Their future has already been mapped out by the rugby brains at New Zealand Rugby House who know this is great rugby talent when they see them. The next logical step is to wear the famous All Blacks Jersey – the dream of every rugby player in New Zealand. This is supported by an attractive remuneration package. After All Blacks duty, the doors open up for lucrative contracts with rich clubs in England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Japan. That is the career path for many rugby players plying their trade in New Zealand.

We should not despair because there are other equally great players playing overseas and locally. We should continue to build our rugby structure and development that will produce future Flying Fijians.

Some of them will be snapped up by overseas clubs. We must accept it as reality today. Younger players see what rugby has done in improving the lives of older players and their families overseas.

The reality is that players now look for opportunities that give them the best financial outcome.

Feedbacknemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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