The Pacific influence has been unmissable throughout November's test programme. England, Ireland, France, Wales, Australia and New Zealand - they all have some degree of South Sea Island favouring.

What's also become clear in these last few weeks is that the gap between the top teams has never been so narrow. Fiji almost toppled Ireland, Scotland took New Zealand to the wire and Georgia were one dominant scrum away from a draw with Wales.

And so the question arises as to whether the increased Pacific influence in nearly every major rugby nation has been the driver of this more competitive landscape?

For the last 20 years or so New Zealand alone has had to face accusations of poaching the best players out of the Islands. It has been New Zealand alone for that same period who have been said to have had some kind of x-factor instilled by genetics.


But New Zealand is most definitely not alone now in terms of having a strong Pacific Island influence. Club rugby has brought hundreds of Islanders to Europe in the last five years or so and now, perhaps inevitably that influx is starting to be seen in the make-up of the major Northern Hemisphere international sides.

In last week's clash between England and Australia, almost a quarter of the players involved could claim Pacific Island heritage. Mako Vunipola and Nathan Hughes were in
England's starting team and Semesa Rokoduguni was on the bench. The Australians had eight players who were eligible for either Fiji, Samoa or Tonga.

Ireland's star player in their 38-3 demolotion of South Africa was former Chiefs midfielder and Samoa-eligible Bundee Aki and Wales, in Toby Faletau, have one of the best No 8s in world rugby.

Given that there are thought to be in excess of 500 professional players from the Islands at European clubs, the forecast is that in another five years the international game will have even more Pasifika influence than it cuerntly does.

The players can't be blamed or judged for raising a flag of convenience and switching allegiance. England pay match fees of almost $40,000 per game and so if the chance to play for them comes along, it becomes more of a financial than it does emotional decision
for players who are also eligible for one of the Island nations.

The positive is that this rugby labour force is sending back hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Islands every month. Rugby players are Pasifika's greatest export - an industry contributing hugely to the GDP of each respective nation.

But the downside is that the international teams of Samoa and Tonga and to a lesser extent Fiji, are not necessarily fulfilling their potential as a result of seeing so many of their best players commit elsewhere.

And at the moment, the Island nations are powerless to stop the migration. There is nothing keeping emerging talent in Fiji, Samoa or Tonga. There is no domestic competition or Super Rugby side.

Sanzaar are thought to be a few weeks away from revealing their long-term vision and while there is an appetite for Pacific Island inclusion in Super Rugby, it remains only a long shot that it will happen.

The feasibility is not yet known and even if there are favourable grounds on which a team can be introduced into the Islands, it won't happen until 2020. And if it does, it will predominantly be based in Fiji which has, easily, the largest economy in the region, with games potentially to be played in Hong Kong, Singapore and possibly New Zealand and Australia.

It's a big if, but should it happen, the question will then be how much of an impact will a Pacific Island side have in reducing the flow of talent out of the region?

Will the creation of one professional club be enough to keep more Fijians in Fiji and expand the pool of talent available to the national selectors?Same with Samoa and Tonga.

That has to be a goal because the last few weeks have highlighted just how much phenomenal talent comes out of the Islands and how much every nation other than Fiji,
Samoa and Tonga are benefitting from that.