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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 November 2006, 21:34 GMT
Islanders battle for rugby future
Pacific Islanders coach Pat Lam
Lam is glad to be able to give something back to islands rugby
Pacific Islanders coach Pat Lam says his side will be motivated by their desire to claim a permanent place at the world table when they face Wales.

"The Pacific Islanders tour is an exciting concept and one that I hope is here to stay," said Lam.

"But for that we know we must perform. We have to expose the islanders to top level rugby ahead of the World Cup."

The tour is the second time Tonga, Samoa and Fiji have come together and their first time in Europe.

PACIFIC ISLANDERS RESULTS
Australia 29-14 Islanders:
Adelaide Oval, 03/07/04
NZ 41-26 Islanders:
Albany, 10/07/04
S Africa 38-24 Islanders:
Gosford, 17/07/04

Their inaugural games were in 2004 against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Although all the matches were lost, the games were highly competitive and showed the talent and potential in islands rugby.

Pacific Islanders backs coach Shane Howarth
An area with the ability to produce this sort of talent has to be nurtured and developed for the good of the world game

Islanders backs coach Shane Howarth

"The Pacific islands have long been ignored, an afterthought, but they have produced some of the greatest players in world rugby," said backs coach Shane Howarth.

"Just look at the likes of Michael Jones, Jonah Lomu and Lote Tuqiri.

"An area with the ability to produce that sort of talent has to be nurtured and developed for the good of the world game. We have to put this at the forefront of people's minds."

This will be the first time that the Islanders have toured with players exclusively committed to Tonga, Samoa or Fiji, the 2004 games having included men who had already represented the Tri Nations sides.

Island rugby did so much for me in my career that it's just a huge honour and privilege to be able to put something back in

Pat Lam

There is no suggestion that the combined Islanders team will supplant the individual sides of the three island groups, the concept rather seen as a distant equivalent of the Lions idea.

"Island rugby did so much for me in my career that it's just a huge honour and privilege to be able to put something back in," said Lam.

After the Wales game, Lam's team face Scotland (18 November) and Ireland (26 November).


Pacific Islanders squad: Justin Va'a (Samoa), Taufa'ao Felise (Tonga), Tevita Taumoepeau (Tonga), Census Johnson (Samoa), Aleki Lutui (Tonga), Mahonri Schwagler (Samoa), Simon Raiwalui (Fiji/captain), Daniel Leo (Samoa), Maama Molitika (Tonga), Isoa Domalailai (Fiji), Epi Taione (Tonga), Pila Vaki (Tonga), Semo Setiti (Samoa), Henry Tuilagi (Samoa), Aca Ratouva (Fiji), Nili Latu (Tonga), Mosese Rauluni (Fiji), Junior Polu (Samoa), Seremaia Bai (Fiji), Tasesa Lavea (Samoa), Seilala Mapusua (Samoa), Kameli Ratouva (Fiji), Sailosi Tagicakibau (Samoa), Lome Faatau (Samoa), Rupeni Caucau (Fiji), Alesana Tuilagi (Samoa), Norman Ligari (Fiji), Loki Crichton (Samoa).

Pacific Islanders tour itinerary:
11 Nov: Wales
18 Nov: Scotland
26 Nov: Ireland


SEE ALSO
Islanders name British tour squad
20 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union


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