sport news Pacific Islands players to be given vote on World Cup 2019 boycott

Pacific Islands players to be given vote on World Cup 2019 boycott after snub from proposed World League plans Pacific Island nations Samoa, Tonga and Fiji to be left out of World League plans  Top stars from those teams will be given chance to vote on World Cup boycott  Plans from World Rugby for 12-strong tournament have been heavily criticised

By Nick Purewal, Press Association Sport

Published: 00:47 GMT, 2 March 2019 | Updated: 00:47 GMT, 2 March 2019

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Top Pacific Islands stars will vote on whether to boycott the 2019 World Cup over World Rugby's controversial World League plans.

World Rugby is understood to be ready to omit Pacific Island nations Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from the 12-strong annual World League competition planned to launch as early as 2020.

The Six Nations Test teams and the Rugby Championship nations would be joined by Japan and the United States under World Rugby's latest considerations.

Pacific Islands stars will vote on a boycott 2019 World Cup over World League plans

Pacific Islands stars will vote on a boycott 2019 World Cup over World League plans

Promotion and relegation has been mooted to hand tier-two nations like the Pacific Islands and Georgia the chance to step up, but the competition could also be ring-fenced for 12 years at a time.

Pressure group Pacific Rugby Players Welfare (PRPW) has pledged to canvass its 600-strong membership on whether Samoa, Tonga and Fiji should stage a World Cup walkout - something chief executive Dan Leo believes would jeopardise the entire competition in Japan this autumn.

If members vote in favour, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji could stage a World Cup walkout

If members vote in favour, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji could stage a World Cup walkout

'The World Cup would lose: I don't think the competition could go ahead if you took out a quarter of the players,' Leo told Press Association Sport.

'So that's the impact that we have. We don't have the commercial audience size that World Rugby wants to put into place for this competition, we don't have that.

'We are setting in place a vote of all our members over whether the Pacific Island nations should boycott this year's World Cup.

'We provide almost 20 per cent of all professional players in terms of heritage.

'And almost a quarter of the players

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