14 Aug 2014

Sport: NRL launches Pacific Strategy

12:45 pm on 14 August 2014

The NRL has launched its Pacific Strategy with an aim of boosting the sports popularity and growing stronger ties in region.

NRL CEO Dave Smith says about 37 per cent of NRL players already come from the Pacific Islands and Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Papua New Guinea will play a crucial part in the game's future.

Mr Smith will be joined by Roosters star Sonny Bill Williams and Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens in Samoa next week as part of the Pacific Strategy launch, while former Bati international Jarryd Hayne will visit Fiji with other NRL stars later in the year.

The visits will involve meetings with government and business officials as well as football clinics and education programs for children.

Dave Smith says the NRL hopes to teach life skills to about 50,000 students in PNG and up to 10,000 in Samoa and Fiji over the next few years.