Kieron Fonotia: 'Harsh' to exclude Pacific Islands

By Nick WebbBBC Sport Wales
Kieron Fonotia
Kieron Fonotia previously played for Crusaders

Scarlets' Samoan centre Kieron Fonotia says it would be "harsh" if Pacific Islands nations are excluded from regular games against Tier One Nations.

World Rugby is considering creating a world league, with 12 top tier sides.

The organisation say top sides would be chosen on merit, which would include Fiji but not Samoa or Tonga based on the current rankings.

"It would be a shame if they just turned their backs on Pacific Islands sides," Fonotia told BBC Sport Wales.

"You see what Island players do for all the competitions around the world, in France, Super Rugby, in England and here."

If the competing countries are chosen strictly on merit rather than financial grounds, the schedule would leave little or no room for games outside the league, a concern for Fonotia.

"It's huge, you want to be out there playing games like that and upset those bigger teams. You never know what can happen especially leading into this World Cup; if it's not boycotted," he added.

"You watch highlights packages (of Northern Hemisphere rugby), more often that not there's a Pacific Island boy on the end of it scoring a try. It would be pretty harsh if they (World Rugby) decide to do it."

Pacific Rugby Players' Welfare wants its members to discuss a boycott of the 2019 World Cup in Japan, where its leading three nations are competing.

Fonotia, who has seven caps for Samoa, would be reluctant for that to happen.

"Personally I want to play in it, it's always been a dream to play in the World Cup," he said. "But I can totally understand why that's getting thrown around because we feel we're being pretty hard done by."

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