With Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji all currently touring the northern hemisphere the plight of the under-privileged Polynesian rugby unions has come into sharp focus.
Worcester’s Josh Matavesi lifted the lid on issues around player release last week when he claimed Racing Metro offered financial inducements to Fijians who made themselves unavailable for international selection.
And the sight of a largely second string Fiji side being hammered by England at Twickenham on Saturday has only made a solution to the situation more pressing.
But while there are already International Rugby Board laws preventing such practices, what there isn’t is a commitment on behalf of wealthier countries to support the development of the sport in Tier Two nations by playing regular fixtures there.
And that, according to former Samoa international Mike Umaga, is the one glaring oversight in a structure that is supported by the IRB but less so by its member unions.
New Zealand have never played in Samoa while England last visited the region more than two decades ago when they played Fiji in Suva.
“Samoa have worked hard at driving their own production line with a high performance unit, which only happened because of IRB funding and with their being more and more Polynesians over here and the HPU they can take care of themselves, strength in depth is the key,” the Stourbridge head coach said.
“There is always going to be an issue with money and I would be lying if I said it was something new.
“I would like to see to top nations like England, France, Ireland and Wales send touring sides.
“They are usually down there anyway going to tour Australia and New Zealand.
“They are still waiting for the big three (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) to spend some time out there as well.
“Something needs to be done right across the board to get much more international rugby played in the islands.
“There has been an ongoing fight getting these fixtures sorted, not so much over here but back in the islands.
“I would love to see more games, that would get more money for those unions rather than too many people having a cut when they are over here.”