Earlier this week, New Zealand Rugby announced that Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua were given conditional licences to join a new Super Rugby competition from next year.
Ex-All Blacks great Sir Michael Jones described the move as “a real groundbreaking moment in the journey for Pacific rugby”, but Turinui was sceptical of the benefits for the likes of Manu Samoa and Tonga at international level.
“To put it simply, Moana Pasifika look to be another NZ franchise who will funnel players through to the All Blacks,” Turinui wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The significant difference being a set-up based around cultural background, as opposed to geography.”
Turinui, who played 20 tests for Australia between 2003-2005, said the positive aspect would be more people with Pacific backgrounds in roles contributing to governance, administration and high performance coaching.
He said the Fijian Drua franchise must be supported by World Rugby and run by Fijian Rugby.
“Any other iteration of the Drua, including one where Australian and New Zealand Rugby try to use it as a part of their pathways, would be disingenuous,” Turinui wrote.
“The Drua should be part of the Australian conference in an initial stage of Super Rugby and if post-Covid travel and budgetary restrictions make a Fiji-based Drua difficult initially, then the Drua could be based in Western Sydney.”