Fiji Rugby Union board chairman Keni Dakuidreketi said the possibility of the Pacific teams joining a revised Super 14 and Tri-Nation competition would be “highly acceptable”.
“We would be open and see it as highly acceptable” to join New Zealand and Australia in a revised series with calls for South Africa to be chopped from the SANZAR pact.
But the businessman said the Fiji Rugby Union would rather be included in the set up on the basis of merit than being just thrust into the mix without much planning and a realistic partership that would work.
Dakuidreketi was responding to statements made by Aussie skipper George Gregan on Planet Rugby demanding that the Boks needed to be kicked out of the series for not keeping their end of the bargain on their two match tour to the Pacific in the Tri-Nations series.
Gregan believes a Tri-Nations minus South Africa but with another team would be an option, in the wake of Jake White’s decision to leave 20-odd first choice players at home.
“If that was to happen, you’d be able to find something which would work and it would give opportunities to a lot of the Pacific Islanders, other teams . . . Argentina, who knows?” Gregain asked.
Gregan, who plays his 132nd Test for Australia against South Afica tomorrow night, said it was simply a case of a partnership dissolving, as the fall-out and disputes between SANZAR and SARU continue.
“I can’t speak on behalf of South Africa, but a partnership . . . if someone’s not happy in a partnership, then obviously it’s got to be dissolved and you’ve got to find a new way to move forward, and there’s always been a really strong relationship between Australia and New Zealand,” he said to The Herald.
“But they’d be able to come up with another concept if they (the South Africans) wanted to align themselves with the northern hemisphere.”
South Africa had promised to bring a full-strength squad on tour, just as Australia and New Zealand did when they went on tour to South Africa in June, but changed their plans after the defeat to New Zealand in Durban, naming fatigue as the reason.
But Dakuidreketi underlined the importance of a combined Pacific Islands team in the Tri-Nations competition if it did become reality because individually the three island nations were not playing to that level.
Caption: Pacific Islanders lock Ifereimi Rawaqa climbs high for a lineout take against the Springboks forwards. Photo: Digicel Pacific Islanders Inc.