Unfortunately we haven’t seen a combined Pacific Islanders team come together since 2008 after the Samoan Rugby Union decided to drop out of the alliance citing financial reasons. Given the amount of talent playing in the top leagues around the World hailing out of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga we thought we would take a look at how a Pacific Islanders XV might look today if the touring side was ever reformed;
15. Timoci Nagusa (Fiji)
The 16 times capped Fijian international has already scored 50 test points for his national side whilst also helping club side Montpellier to a second placed finish in the 2014 Top 14.
14. Napolioni Nalaga (Fiji)
The Clermont man has been a key figure in Vern Cotter’s side over the last couple of years whilst also racking up 30 test points in just 11 caps.
13. Vereniki Goneva (Fiji)
The Leicester man has to be a serious contender for Premiership player of the season after ensuring the Tigers did not miss Manu Tuilagi through injury.
12. Nemani Nadolo (Fiji)
The giant Fijian back has been likened to Jonah Lomu in his prime as his hulking 6’5″ frame carries around 19st10lbs during a breakthrough season for the Crusaders.
11. Fetu’u Vainikolo (Tonga)
The Tongan has only recently broken through into the Exeter first team this season but has been a powerful force and also has 35 test points in 9 caps.
10. Tusi Pisi (Samoa)
Pisi has experience of playing club rugby all over the world, and despite having Beauden Barrett ahead of him at the Hurricanes Pisi still has plenty to offer a Pacific Islanders side.
9. Kahn Fotuali’i (Samoa)
Fotuali’i is now considered amongst the best scrum halves in the world right now and his first season at Northampton Saints has done nothing to change that view.
1. Census Johnston (Samoa)
The Toulouse prop helps to define the term immovable object as he has been a key figure in the pack for teams such as Saracens, Toulouse and Biarritz.
2. Ti’i Paulo (Samoa)
The Samoan international is a key figure in for Clermont Auvergne in the Top 14 having also gained 16 international caps.
3. James Johnston (Samoa)
The younger of the Johnston brothers packs down on the opposite side of the scrum to his brother as he adds his considerable bulk to the pack.
4. Filo Paulo (Samoa)
Weighing in at over 19 stone Filo Paulo helps to add even more bulk to this Pacific Islanders XV as he also adds some impressive club experience to the side.
5. Joe Tekori (Samoa)
The Samoan lock is also no lightweight in the second row and also adds 26 caps to the pack having also been an integral figure for Castres and Toulouse in the Top 14.
6. Maurie Fa’asavalu (Samoa)
The international cross-coder has been excellent for Connor O’Shea’s Harlequins side over the last few years and brings plenty of experience to the side.
7. Akapusi Qera (Fiji)
Qera has experience of playing at the very top level of club rugby for Gloucester and Toulouse having also captained the Fijian national team.
8. Nathan Hughes (Fiji/Samoa)
The Wasps back rower has been in sensational form in the second half of the season after Dai Young lost Billy Vunipola, and although stating his desire to play for England could still turn out for Fiji or Samoa.
So whilst the side is predominantly a Fijian backline playing behind a Samoan pack it’s fair to say there’s an abundance of world class talent in the team. In addition to the Pacific Islanders XV named above there are also the likes of the Tuilagi and Pisi brothers who could make the side or at least come on off the bench.
As keen as I am for the individual members of the Pacific Islanders combine to retain their own separate identities I can’t help but feel regular tours for a combined side like this would see them given much more opportunity to play the Tier 1 nations. This experience could help to seriously help Fiji, Samoa and Tonga continue their development.