World Rugby has announced details of an increased investment into Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in co-operation with Pacific Rugby Players, the body representing players in the region.
As the Pacific teams tour the northern hemisphere for the November window, World Rugby has confirmed that direct and indirect support for the unions and their national teams is estimated at more than £20 million for the current four-year cycle 2016-19, up 19 per cent.
The enhanced investment is targeted towards the respective high-performance programmes and Rugby World Cup 2019 campaigns of the three unions, aimed at closing the performance gap to the top-ranked teams ahead of Japan 2019.
The investment includes significant support for world-class coaching and technical advisors and improvements in strength and conditioning, sports science and medicine. It also includes a range of player welfare initiatives, in partnership with Pacific Rugby Players, the official representative body of the players of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga and a member body of the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA).
In addition, the investment not only supports the senior national team fixtures but also the A-team, academy and under-20 programmes to enhance the sustainability of the unions’ high performance programmes. Specifically, for the November tests, the funding programme includes all player insurance costs, squad assembly costs including flights to Europe from each of the Pacific Islands and internal flights across the window. For example, the total investment (direct and indirect) managed by World Rugby for the benefit of Samoa will top £1.5 million in 2017.
World Rugby General Manager, High Performance Peter Horne said: “In the 2016-19 cycle, World Rugby will invest an estimated £20.3m in programmes for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa which is an increase of 19 per cent on the last cycle.