Nadolo calls for Pacific Islands Super Rugby side
Cape Town – Montpellier and Fiji powerhouse wing Nemani Nadolo has renewed calls for a Pacific Islands team to be introduced to Super Rugby.
The southern hemisphere’s leading club competition has reverted back to it’s 15-team format this year after two inconvenient years which saw the tournament expanding to 18 teams.
South Africa’s Cheetahs and Southern Kings as well as the Western Force from Australia were subsequently removed from the competition with the two former teams joining the PRO14 tournament in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Force will be of billionaire Andrew Forrest’s proposed Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, which is set to kick off in 2019.
Super Rugby’s current broadcast deal will come to an end in 2019 and preparations are already underway to determine the tournament’s shape and structure after that.
Although South Africa’s future could lie in Europe, it is understood that the South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) want to continue in Super Rugby due to the strength of the competition.
But regardless of South African teams’ future participation in the competition, SANZAAR are likely to turn their attention to the Pacific.
Nadolo believes it is critical that a team from the Pacific Islands region is included in Super Rugby.
“In Samoa, in Tonga and in Fiji they idolise Super Rugby,” he told Fox Sports.
“They watch more Super Rugby than their heroes who play in Europe.
“If you took a game to Samoa, to Tonga, Fiji and put the ticket prices down, you’re going to get numbers through and it’ll bring everyone together.
“It’s what the island nations need at the moment.
“We need a team that’s going to put us back on the map and Super Rugby would be the ideal competition.”
The 30-year-old said he prefers a combined Pacific Islands team to play in Super Rugby, so that all the regions’ resources could be pulled together.
“If you’re going to put an islander team or Fijian team, I’d combine a Samoan, Tongan, Fijian mixture because we’re probably limited to what we can do and all our players all play overseas,” he added.
“A Pacific Islander team would be ideal because having one country is probably not fair to us – we’re all in the same league in terms of infrastructure, rugby wise and resources – so if we can combine with one force and attack Super Rugby it would be pretty exciting to see and you’re going to get more numbers and more interest from the Pacific Islander community.”