17 Apr 2003

pacific lions get the go ahead

5:48 am on 17 April 2003

The International Rugby Board has finally given approval for a combined Pacific Islands team to play matches against New Zealand, Australia and South Africa next year.

The Pacific Lions team will play matches against the SANZAR nations next year and Northern Hemisphere nations in 2005.

The Chief Executive of the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, Charlie Charters says it's exciting news for rugby in the Pacific and potentially represents a step into the big time for the countries of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

A formal schedule of the matches should be available by November at the next IRB Council meeting.

The 3 Pacific nations will meet in Auckland next week to discuss the news and start making plans which will include player eligibility.