Connolly calls for Islanders Super15 inclusion

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly says that players from the Pacific Islands should be recruited in order to form a new rugby team for the Super 15.

SANZAR have agreed to expand Super Rugby from the current Super14 format which has 14 teams to a Super 15 which will have 15 teams split into three pools/conferences of five rugby teams.

Australia, South Africa and New Zealand will each host one of these three pools and SANZAR have agreed that the new 15th rugby team will be based in the Australian pool.

South Africa have formed a rugby team that they want in the Super 15 called the Southern Kings but as that team would be based in Australia if they were to be included it is extremely unlikely that SANZAR would agree to base a South African team in Australia.

Other countries have also expressed interest in putting forward a team to play in the Super 15 but it is widely expected that Melbourne or the Gold Coast will be named as the home of the new Super 15 team.

John Connolly says the new rugby team should be based in Melbourne in the South of Australia.

Connolly told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that players from the Pacific deserve to have their own Australian team.

“I think rugby union culturally in the islands is massive.” he said.

“It is actually an important part of their infrastructure and there is no doubt, pre-‘Super Rugby‘, rugby in the islands was very strong.”

He says with the advent of “Super Rugby“, Australia and New Zealand and South Africa definitely ignored or the islands were left out in the cold when the professional rugby hit”.

“Consequently many of their (rugby) players had to find their way in Europe or New Zealand.” Connolly concluded.

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