Gregor Townsend: Scotland coach says Fiji must be in world league

Fraser Brown in action for Scotland against Fiji
Scotland beat Fiji 54-17 at Murrayfield in November

Tier Two nations such as Fiji must be included in any future plans for a world league, says Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.

A New Zealand newspaper report suggested a 12-team global league was set to come into effect from 2020, with the Pacific Island nations locked out.

World Rugby has since moved to play down the report.

"We obviously want teams like Fiji and others to be involved because they are great for the game," said Townsend.

"As a rugby organisation, as a rugby people, we certainly enjoy and feel it's very much part for our game to involve these teams in anything moving forward."

Despite a stream of players of Fijian, Samoan and Tongan origin representing New Zealand and Australia at Test level, the Pacific Islands have long been avoided by the southern hemisphere powerhouses.

The All Blacks have never played a full international in Fiji, and played a Test in Samoa for the first time in 91 years in 2015. They, along with Australia and South Africa, have never played in Tonga.

Townsend thinks that situation needs to be looked at when any major shake-up of the global rugby calendar is being considered.

"Other teams around the world do that [tour the Pacific Islands], and probably the teams closer to the likes of Fiji, that's something for them to consider with any change to the Rugby Championship," he said.

Treading the line between maximising revenues while minimising the workload of players, in an age of spiralling injury counts, appears to be a major stumbling block to any new competition.

"I know there's been meetings about and making the June and November Tests more competitive and the principal is a good one behind that," added Townsend.

"Some of the leading players said if there are any changes which would mean playing more Test matches back-to-back, it would be a real concern and I agree with that."

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