The Pacific Island nations have threatened to withdraw from this year’s World Cup in protest at the plans for a World League.
Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have all qualified for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup in Japan but their participation has been thrown into doubt after the Pacific Rugby Players’ Welfare called on its 600 members to consider a boycott.
The PRPW are upset at World Rugby’s decision to revamp the international Test calendar from 2020, announcing plans to introduce a 12-team World League.
While rugby’s governing body have yet to finalise their plans for the new competition, the Pacific Islands fear being left out and the PRPW’s Daniel Leo, who played for Samoa in two World Cups, has called on the nations to unite to “head off this calamity”.
“The days of colonialism are long behind us but this model that they’re proposing is more reminiscent of those days,” the former lock told BBC Sport.
“We want to be known as a progressive sport – one that’s inclusive, one that allows sides to be promoted and allows sides to have equal opportunity – but the signs are a bit ominous.
“Everyone plays this game to progress and if there’s a ceiling to how well you can do in this game then smaller nations probably just shouldn’t play in the first place. I feel we’re at a real crossroads in the sport.”
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