Pacific Rugby Players – the official representative body of Pacific Island players across the globe – has announced former Tongan International Hale T Pole as its new Chairman with Aayden Clarke taking over as Chief Executive of the organisation.
The appointments come as the organisation ramps up its work around tackling player welfare issues, working on the establishment of a Pacific Island Super Rugby team, an agent accreditation scheme with the International Rugby Players Association (IRPA) and other important areas that affect Pacific Island players.
PRP, the collective voice of the Fijian, Samoa, Tongan and Cook Island players looks to ensure that both current and former players contribute to the success of Pacific Island Rugby both on and off the field.
Both T-Pole, who played club Rugby in both hemispheres, and Clarke have also focused on the issues facing Pacific Islanders in Europe and this has resulted with two PRP Player Relationship Managers in UK and France to directly support players from the islands.
Samoa’s Faifili Leavave says: “Hale is the rock in this association; he was a founding member who saw the need for collective representation of all Pacific Island rugby players. He is an astute operator with a lot of respect across the rugby world and can really grow the influence and the understanding of Pacific Island players across the globe.”
Former Fijian captain Deacon Manu adds: “Aayden Clarke has a high level of sporting administration experience and skills that are needed to lead us. In his time managing the Player Development programme, a big asset has been his ability to navigate across Fiji, Tonga and Samoa without bias. We all know the politics of our nations can be tricky and his experience in the board room, professional rugby and in working with players at the coal face is invaluable.”
Much of the work of Pacific Rugby Players ties in with the global body and IRPA Chief Executive Omar Hassanein says that both T-Pole and Clarke’s work will benefit Pacific players everywhere.
“The issue of overseas agents and clubs recruiting young players from the Pacific under unfair and unrealistic terms has been central to many player welfare issues for years.
“To combat this, Pacific Rugby Players is leading the charge to regulate recruitment activity in the islands and create a comprehensive Agents Charter and Accreditation process. I know that having Hale and Aayden on board will help us put real, meaningful measures in place to protect players.”