Chairman Beaumont invites Fiji to World League talks in March


Paris (AFP)

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont announced on Sunday he will meet with rugby bosses including officials from Fiji on March 14 to discuss the proposition of a world league.

The world's governing body was criticised by players' unions from across the globe for an idea of a potential 12-team league.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported that Fiji as well as Tonga and Samoa would be excluded but a dozen sides from the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and Japan and the US would participate.

The reported plan ruled out promotion and relegation for at least 10 seasons, meaning the Pacific Islands' countries as well as other rising nations such as Georgia, would have no chance to win a place later.

A boycott of this year's World Cup was mooted by the London-based Pacific Rugby Players Welfare (PRPW) on Friday to include even those of Pacific Island origin playing in other teams.

"Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views," Beaumont said in a statement.

"Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something truly impactful in this important area for rugby's future global growth. I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes," he added.

Brett Gosper, the CEO of World Rugby said on Saturday the Pacific Islands would not be excluded from the competition but their inclusion would be judged by on-field success alone.

"Participation would be merit-based, based on rankings at an agreed time," the Australian told AFP.

"There is no question of closing out the Pacific Islands as we would be adding two more emerging unions to the top table whilst financing a second tier competition with all the benefits that would bring to the players," he added.

A meeting was already planned but Beaumont added the global players union as well as Fiji and Japan to the list of participants.

The US, who the Herald also said were being included in the 12-team league, have not been invited to Dublin.