Samoa wants four nations tournament - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Samoa wants four nations tournament

By Todd Balym 09/11/2008 09:39:28 PM Comments (0)

Samoa coach John Ackland called upon rugby league's governing body to get serious about growing the international game, proposing an annual tournament with Tonga, Papua New Guinea and an Australia A side.

Ackland said the Rugby League International Federation should not waste the potential the World Cup has delivered and increase the number of Test matches with a tournament for the minnow nations.

But he warned the southern hemisphere tournament would only work if an Australian A side was included.

"If the international board is serious they have to get on board and start to organise something," said Ackland.

"Create something that is sustainable as opposed to a flash in the pan.

"But it has to include Australia A to be honest."

Ackland even believes the concept could help crack the US market, citing a strong Polynesian population in the United States.

"If we have got people like Russell Crowe who might be keen to get involved then maybe we can get it to happen," he said.

"America is really the holy grail for international development."

Samoa skipper Tony Puletua supported the concept, adding he felt a greater sense of pride playing for the islanders than in his 18 Tests for New Zealand.

"It was a very different feeling compared to when I was playing for the Kiwis," said Puletua.

"I had great pride representing New Zealand but this is something I've always wanted to do, to come back and play for Samoa."

Meanwhile, France coach John Monie believes the game needs to keep growing in that country, starting with a second team in the English Super League, before they'll be able to compete on the international stage.

Toulouse have entered England's division one competition in 2009.

France's 42-10 loss to Samoa left them last in the 10-nation World Cup and could seriously threaten their bid for entry into a four nations tournament with Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain next year.

"For the game to improve we need another team in Super League," said Monie.

"(France) need the rest of rugby league to help them make the pool of players to select from a much bigger pool."

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