The Pacific Islands produce rugby talent stretching to every corner of the world, seeing Polynesian ancestry rife in the top tier rugby nations. So much so that a “Dream Team” can be compromised of Pacific Islander players, that would give most teams a hard time.
Many international players of Polynesian heritage, who have represented other countries, namely the likes of New Zealand and Australia, have been expressing a want to play for their countries of heritage at the 2019 World Cup. Tongan by ancestry, All Black Charles Piatau has been at the forefront of the debate regarding a change in World Rugby’s eligibility rules, calling for them to follow Rugby League and allow for players to play for their ancestral Pacific Nations regardless of previous international commitment.
This debate is a timely reminder of the Pacific Island team which competed between 2004-2008 and saw them put out respectable scores against the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in their inaugural tour of 2004. Compromised of players from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Niue and the Cook Islands, the team showcased pacific island talent and two of the players, Sione Lauaki and Sitiveni Sivivatu went on to play for the All Blacks.
The world seems split on the opinion of where players of Pacific Island heritage should be playing and whether or not they should be allowed to represent both their country of birth and then country of ancestry. Yet what is undeniable is the wealth of talent that is produced by the Pacific Islands.
“2018 Pacific Island Dream Team” by Offload Media