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Oceania Rugby Boss slams Celtic Rugby nations

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Rugby union’s Oceania chief has accused his Celtic counterparts of running scared by refusing to tweak international eligibility rules to strengthen Pacific island teams.


Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) president Harry Schuster on Wednesday blamed Ireland, Wales and Scotland for blocking a move to change current laws, which ban players who have represented one country ever taking the field for another.


Schuster said the law meant players such as former All Blacks Jerry Collins (pictured) and Chris Masoe could not play for their birthplace, Samoa, even though their international careers with New Zealand were effectively over.


The Samoa-based official said he was shattered the International Rugby Board (IRB) late last month rejected a New Zealand-sponsored move to relax the rules.


“I can’t (say) how devastated and disappointed we are at this decision,” he said.


“There are quite a number of players who will be just as gutted.”


Schuster said the Celtic nations mounted the strongest opposition to the proposal because they feared the challenge full strength Pacific teams would pose for them.


“They were just looking for excuses to stop our proposal because the fact of the matter is, they are so scared of how powerful we’ll become if it goes through,” he said.


Kevin Senio, who is ineligible to play for any country but New Zealand after winning a sole Test cap for the All Blacks with a 20 minute appearance off the bench in 2005, said he would love to play for Samoa.


“As a player that could have been available for Samoa I’m frustrated, the idea of playing for Samoa would’ve been something special,” he said.


“I’m keen to see it happen and will endeavour to see the rule changed even long after my playing career.”

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