Islanders prevent poaching

Only players available for Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will be selected for the Pacific Islanders tour of the UK later this year.

“The team will definitely not be selected as in 2004,” said Pira acting CEO Sakopo Lolohea. “It will be made up of eligible players playing for the three islands.”

This rules out players with dual nationalities like Highlanders lock/No 8 Filipo Levi, Blues flyhalf Tasea Lavea and Crusaders lock Tone Kopelani.

In 2004, loose forward Sione Luaki and winger Sitiveni Sivivatu were snapped up by the All Blacks soon after the Islanders matches against the Vodacom Tri-Nations sides, as playing for the Islanders did not prevent them from playing for another country.

The 2004 series was generally regarded as a failure, especially by Fiji who are still bitter about the small amount (R150 000) that was paid to each union.

The Fijians have also opposed the 2006 end-of-year tour, claiming it would disrupt their World Cup preparations. However, the tour is expected to be given the green light by all three unions on 6 August.

The Islanders play Wales, Scotland and Ireland on three consecutive Saturdays in November.