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Rugby Committee to meet in Fiji to consider global and Pacific Islands rugby

Press Release

  • Global game health and Pacific Islands rugby on the agenda
  • First time the committee has met in the Pacific Islands
  • Islands continue to implement key governance reform

World Rugby has reaffirmed its commitment to the global development of the game with the hosting of its Rugby Committee meeting in Nadi, Fiji, on the weekend of 11-12 June.

With rugby experiencing record-breaking global participation and popularity growth, the body will consider the general health of the 15s and sevens disciplines as the sport prepares for a ground-breaking first Rugby World Cup in Asia in 2019 and game-changing Olympic Games participation.

With the meeting scheduled around the opening match of the World Rugby-funded Pacific Nations Cup 2016 between Fiji and Tonga in Suva, the committee will also examine the opportunities and challenges facing Pacific Islands rugby and consider the high performance and competition requirements of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga within the current global calendar review. Two-time Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw will be the players' representative on the committee.

The committee will hear from representatives of the three unions, who are currently implementing key governance reform measures, and the newly-established Pacific Island Players' Association, with a view to identifying recommendations to strengthen the game in the Islands. In addition there will be side meetings with the Fiji Prime Minister and Government, the Oceania National Olympic Committees and the International Rugby Players' Association.

Incoming World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "Rugby is currently experiencing significant global participation and profile growth and the game is generally in excellent shape."

"However, as we grow we must ensure that our unions remain strong, sustainable and competitive and World Rugby is committed to working in partnership with unions, including the Pacific Islands, to ensure that objective is achieved."

"We have a new and inclusive governance model and have a clear pathway for unions to join Council. This meeting will look at the rugby opportunities and challenges faced by our unions in order to better assist that process and ultimately deliver a more competitive global game.

Rugby Committee Chairman John Jeffrey added: "The Pacific Islands continue to contribute so much to the global game and we look forward to furthering the discussions that we have had with each of the unions to move towards strengthening the governance of the game in the Islands."

"We will also consider the competition requirements that underpin their performance on the world stage and at Rugby World Cup. I would like to thank the Fiji Rugby Union and Fijian Government for their support of hosting these important meetings and anticipate highly-constructive and positive discussions."

The meeting takes place as Fiji and Tonga begin their quest for Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification in the new-look World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, from which two teams will directly qualify for rugby's showcase event based on results across the 2016 and 2017 competitions. The match kicks off at 15:00 (local time) on Saturday.

Fans can follow all the action from the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup 2016 via @worldrugby and www.worldrugby.org.

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