World Rugby rules discriminate against Pacific players - Impey

New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey has hit out at World Rugby and European clubs over their treatment of Pasifika players.

Speaking to First Up, Impey shared his frustrations at what he said was unfair treatment of Pacific nations at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

He took particular issue with the eligibility rules for tier two nations.

"I think the gap has got wider between tier one and tier two [nations]. I think World Rugby has got a lot to answer for in this space.

In particular I believe there should be eligibility rules which allow players who've played for tier one countries, such as the All Blacks, to go back after say a year and play for their countries of origin.

"Think how much stronger Tonga would have been had Charles Piutau been in this side, Samoa also with the likes of Steven Luatua... It would have made a huge, huge difference."

Impey said rich European clubs were adding to the problem.

"There have been a lot of incidents where Pasifika players, who have got their family responibilities, have made themselves curiously unavailable for their national teams because of the pressure put on them by clubs in Europe.

"I believe that you cannot put any blame on that on the Pasifika players themselves because they've got to feed their families, but it just shows World Rugby has been really poor in addressing these issues.

"New Zealand has tried a lot to make the changes at World Rugby level, but we have been blocked by being unable to get the necessary votes.

And how ironic it is that ... Scotland got dealt to by Japan with a team, from Scotland, that includes players like [Blade] Thomson and [Sean] Maitland, who learned all their rugby here in New Zealand. So the irony of it is there for all of us to see."

Impey said World Rugby could and should make the changes needed to help tier two nations. He believed the organisation also had the power to enforce the rules against European clubs.

Pacific nations are out of the World Cup tournament leaving Japan as the only tier two nation to get to the quarter finals.