Picking A Combined Pacific Islanders XV
BY GEORGE WHIFFEN
The Pacific Islands, just a small collection of islands in a small corner of the Earth but simultaneously creating some of the biggest and deadliest players in world rugby.
Naturally born to be prime candidates for rugby with players traditionally coming from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga we’ve seen great players grace rugby all over the world.
The union was disbanded in 2009 due to financial reasons, but what if the team was reformed today? Just how competitive would they be?
In this article, we theoretically take the possibility of funding and form what a current and on form pacific nations team would look like, a decade on from the last time they played.
1) Campese Ma’afu: The Northampton loose-head has been a mainstay of the Fiji team for many years and has been a relatively new addition to the Northampton Saints, capable of being destructive in open play and being reliable at scrum time, the Northampton man lays a solid foundation for the team in the front row.
2) Moto Matu’u: Moto Matu’u smash! One of the hardest hitters in world rugby, the ex-Hurricanes man is capable of smashing anyone off the pitch in defence, he also offers a good work rate around the pitch and a solid scrum and lineout to build off.
3) Ben Tameifuna: The Racing bulldozer is one of the biggest and most destructive props in the world, coming in at 134kg Tameifuna will never be mistaken for a lightweight, a big carrier in open play and a real cornerstone of the pack, no chance of the scrum going down with him in the three shirt.
4) Leone Nakarawa: Does this man need any introduction? One of the first names on the team sheet, the second Racing player to make this list has immense ability in the offload area and at the lineout, a real athlete and leader for the team, with a better pair of hands then a lot of backs, Nakarawa has always looked home in the 7’s circuit winning gold with Fiji at the 2016 Olympics as well as excelling in the XV’s game, a true athlete.
5) Opeti Fonua: Fonua is typically a backrower but is moved here to the second row to accommodate others in the back row, he’s no small player. Giving more power in the coal face of the scrum he also offers big carrying power and gives front foot ball. Complimenting Nakarawa in the second row by giving a different style of play.