Launched in 2018, The Pacific Rugby combine is a World Rugby funded programme that gives emerging talent from Fiji, Tonga and Samoa the opportunity to access some of the world’s best coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and lifestyle mentors which prepares these players for a potential career in the modern elite rugby environment.
World Rugby announced this initiative with the goal in mind of helping the future stars of these emerging nations develop and identify players to be put forward for a professional contract in competitions like the Gallagher Premiership, Global Rapid Rugby, Mitre 10, Major League Rugby, PRO14, Superliga Americana de Rugby and Super Rugby.
This initiative is part of a 4 year cycle that expresses World Rugby’s aim to nurture test-level talent as well as their wider commitment to supporting the Pacific Island unions.
With the recent additions of Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua to the Super Rugby Championship, new opportunities have arisen for young pasifika talent. Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger and Fijian Drua’s Mick Bryne were in attendance at the combine and were very impressed with what the young Pasifika talent had to offer.
“As head coach of Moana Pasifika, it’s really important for us to be connected and have a presence on the island so it’s a great opportunity here for the Pasifika players combined to come and view a lot of our talent based from Samoa and Tonga and a great pathway for these guys to come and showcase their skills we’re pretty impressed so far it’s been a long day for these guys but they’re handling themselves well”.
Pacific Rugby Players were also heavily involved with coordinating developmental workshops throughout the duration of the combine. Player development manager, Gaylene Osborne, led numerous workshops on areas like social media and sports agents. These proved to be extremely valuable to the players as it assists them in navigating their potential entrance into the professional rugby environment.
Overall, the combine in its 3rd year was once again deemed a huge success by all who attended. Pacific Rugby players will continue to be involved in this initiative as it not only is beginning the pathway for improvement on the field but also offers a chance to educate young Pasifika players about life off it.
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Article written by:
Kace O’Neill & Vanessa Leota