COMMENT:

There is a general feeling among some of those in American politics now that to get rid of the scourge of Donald Trump's presidency is to no longer take only the high moral ground but to fight dirty and fight smart.

There could be something similar brewing in the South Pacific and beyond as the news filters through that World Rugby is about to shut the door on Fiji, Tonga and Samoa (and Georgia) via the new World League which will keep them and other Tier Two nations out in the cold for the next 12 years at least.

It's clear that this decision by the governing body is about lining the pockets of the elite – no change there - and it's clear too that Japan and the USA are now in that category for their ability to (possibly) forge new markets and bring in new cash.

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So, stuff the hand wringing and the pleas to do the right thing, it's time to take it up a level and that means hitting World Rugby where it hurts. Starting with the Pacific Nations and perhaps further afield, it's time to boycott the World Cup or at least threaten to do so.

The world's top players have considered pushing the nuclear button before over World Rugby's inability to create a global calendar in which there is a clearly defined off season.

But such are the complexities of two hemispheres and club owners with different and competing agendas that it's always been kicked into the tall grass.

This is different because the players haven't been consulted; in fact it appears they have been deliberately excluded and that is a potential game changer.

When World Rugby's player of the year Johnny Sexton calls the game's decision makers "out of touch", and for All Blacks skipper Kieran Read to raise concerns about the game's integrity at the top level and impact on players should this scheme go ahead, then the organisation should take notice.

It should know too that the feelings behind the scenes among those who actually put the boots on are a damned sight stronger than what appeared in an International Rugby Players' Association statement, and the statement itself was strong.

A disappointed Fiji side after their loss against England during the opening match against England at Twickenham Stadium, at the 2015 World Cup 2015. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
A disappointed Fiji side after their loss against England during the opening match against England at Twickenham Stadium, at the 2015 World Cup 2015. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Like watching political events from afar, it's difficult to understand how some of those closely involved at the top can't see how they won't fall on the wrong side of history and it's the same here with World Rugby and in particular their giving the cold shoulder to the Pacific Island nations who have given so much to the game and to Australia and New Zealand in particular.

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Further to that, it would be interesting to hear how the Australian and New Zealand unions voted. Either way, they shouldn't come out of this money-grabbing debacle with reputations enhanced.

Fiji are ranked ninth in the world according to World Rugby's list (ahead of Argentina in 10th). Georgia are 12th. Tonga are 14th, one place behind the USA, and Samoa are 16th.

If this new competition goes ahead, none of the three Pacific Islands nations will play a Tier One nation outside of a World Cup for the next 12 years at least.

So imagine if the world were denied a chance to see those three Pacific Islands nations at the World Cup in Japan in less than seven months' time? And what if Georgia (ranked 12th), lobbying for years to enter the Six Nations (Italy are currently ranked 15th), did the same? It would be a disaster, with the draw already done, and broadcast arrangements made.

But sometimes only the strongest statements are heard. The players have been excluded from the discussions, now it's time to withdraw their labour.