13 Apr 2006

IRB says tier three rugby countries in their future plans

6:50 am on 13 April 2006

The International Rugby Board says tier three countries, which include the Cook Islands and Niue, will receive the same programme as what's been given to tier two countries.

The IRB's High performance consultant, Daniel Collins' comments come ahead of the inaugural Pacific Cup this weekend to be played in Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

The Board has pumped 50 million US dollars into these countries to among other things test the abilities of local players as well as preparing them for international competition.

Collins says however, the IRB's future plans is to look at tier three countries.

"Priority at this point in time is to get the established rugby playing 15's, lets try and increase their standards because they were there before the game went professional, so we need to return to those days before we can have a look at the tier three countries."