20 Feb 2013

Sport: IRB and Pacific unions work to clarify player availability

11:18 am on 20 February 2013

The International Rugby Board is working with Pacific Island unions to ensure there is more clarity around the availability of its best players.

During last year's November internationals, Fiji and Tonga both had players declare themselves unavailable due to club commitments or deemed injured by their clubs.

Samoa also encountered resistance from clubs in releasing players.

The IRB's General Manager for Oceania, Will Glenwright, met with the heads of all three unions this week says they have developed some policies and procedures to ensure the same problems do not arise again.

"Part of what we discussed is an education process with the member unions, just to ensure that they're aware of firstly what their rights are under the regulation, which is framed very much to ensure that they do get access to their best possible players. But also there was a need to understand and communicate clearly what the obligations are, because there is a very clear process that all member unions need to follow, in order to ensure that we as an international federation can ensure that those players are released."

Will Glenwright says the Unions also discussed the build-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics and how Pacific countries can best prepare themselves to win a medal.