31 Jul 2006

Strict eligibility rules for Islanders rugby tour

3:02 pm on 31 July 2006

The Pacific Islanders rugby team which will tour Britain in November will be made up exclusively of players who have chosen to play for Fiji, Tonga or Samoa.

This follows the ruling of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance.

The first Islanders team, which played against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in 2004, included players such as Sione Lauaki and Sitiveni Sivivatu, who went on to play for the New Zealand All Blacks.

PIRA chief executive Sakopo Lolohea says eligibility rules for this year's team would be changed to ensure the Islanders tour served the development of Pacific Islands rugby.

The PIRA board is due to meet in Fiji on August 6 to finalise details of the tour, which involves Tests against Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

The meeting is also expected to confirm the appointment of Samoa coach and former All Black Michael Jones as Islanders head coach.