World Rugby's 'massive turnaround' encouraging

The chief executive of the Pacific Rugby Players is encouraged by what he says is a massive turnaround by officials about the proposed new World League.

World Rugby boss Brett Gosper has told AFP there is "no question of closing out" Pacific teams from the competition and participation would be judged by on-field success alone, while chairman Bill Beaumont has said no decisions have been made.

That comes after revelations the league would include no Pacific teams, with no promotion-relegation.

Pacific Rugby Players CEO Aayden Clarke said it's positive to hear the latest comments.

"It is a massive turnaround, which is really positive.

"Really that's all we wanted is for a rethink from the direction we heard everything was heading.

"If Brett [Gosper] and Bill [Beaumont] and all the decision makers are now possibly sitting back and thinking maybe we need to rethink this, then that's a fantastic result for us."

Last week it was revealed Fiji, Tonga and Samoa could be excluded from a new world format, with 12 teams from the European Six Nations, the Rugby Championship of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, as well as Japan and the USA participating.

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.

But Gosper has said Pacific Island teams would not be excluded, with participation merit-based and based on rankings at an agreed time.

He added that two more emerging unions would join the top table, while World Rugby would finance a second tier competition for tier two teams.

Clarke said a second-tier competition as part of a new World League would be a good step forward for the Pacific nations.

"At the moment we know which tests the All Blacks and Australia are playing two years ahead, whereas for tier two nations it's very ad-hoc.

"We do need a more meaningful planned out competition for the likes of Georgia, Romania, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to play in, but at the moment it's about also having that [chance] to step up.

Clarke also insisted a boycott of this year's World Cup in Japan would be a last resort for the Pacific nations.

Reports of a potential boycott have surfaced after it was revealed World Rugby were set to ratify the highly criticised proposal.

While he wouldn't rule it out, Clarke said a World Cup boycott is something they would absolutely hope to avoid.

"Myself and the captains of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa are in contact regularly and that hasn't been discussed once.

"That is obviously always a tool the players have but at the moment that would be very last resort.

"We're pretty confident, like usual, we can have constructive conversations with the stakeholders and get to an area where everybody is happy."