All Black great Bryan Williams has backed the growing clamour for New Zealand to play a Test series in the Pacific Islands.
The news comes hot on the heels of International Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper’s statement the organisation would “love to see the All Blacks play in the Pacific, in Samoa, or anywhere in that region”.
Bryan Williams who knows the politics of the situation better than most. He played 38 times for the All Blacks between 1970 and 1978, helped coach Samoa in the 1991, 1995 and 1999 Rugby World Cups and held the position of New Zealand Rugby Union president during their 2011 World Cup triumph.
For Williams, who was born in Auckland but whose father is Samoan, he feels it is time for New Zealand to journey to the Islands. “I wish the All Blacks would go up to the Pacific Islands and there are lots of ex-players and current players who believe it should happen,” Williams told ESPN. “But they are governed by their masters.
“There have been other teams who have gone up to the Islands – New Zealand A and New Zealand Maori but the All Blacks have never been there. Wales have, France have, Ireland have and England have been to Fiji on a number of occasions. There’s no earthly reason why the All Blacks should not have been to Samoa or Tonga in the past. There are so many Pacific Island players who are making big contributions to New Zealand rugby and they would love to see it.”
And amid talk of Super Rugby expansion, Williams would like to see an Islands team considered.
“They are talking about expansion but they are talking about expanding to Japan, America, Argentina but no question about expanding with a Pacific Island team. It might not be feasible to base it up there, it might be you have to base it here or in Australia but a bit of lateral thinking would help overcome those sorts of problems.”