Joe Rokocoko & Victor Vito Join Players Board for France!

All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Victor Vito have thrown their star quality behind Pacific Rugby Players Welfare, joining the association's board.

Image courtesy of  Onside Images

Image courtesy of Onside Images

New Zealand powerhouses Rokocoko and Vito have joined PRPW's player representatives board for France.

Biarritz forwards coach and former Fiji lock Simon Raiwalui has accepted a role on PRPW's community team for France too, as the association strengthens its base in Europe.

Fiji-born wing Rokocoko won 68 New Zealand caps between 2003 and 2010, and continues to impress at Racing 92, while flanker Vito has earned rave reviews at La Rochelle, following racking up 33 All Blacks appearances.

Image courtesy of  Onside Images

Image courtesy of Onside Images

“We are delighted to welcome Joe, Victor and Simon to PRPW,” said PRPW chief executive Dan Leo.

“It's fantastic to be able to add three Pacific Islands men of such distinction to our organisation, and I know all three are keen to further our cause.

“The careers of all three men speak for themselves, and one of the key tenets of our agenda is being able to give our people a voice at all levels of the sport.”

The next PRPW meeting in France is scheduled for December 17 at Racing 92 in Paris.

La Rochelle flanker Vito revealed his delight at joining the association, pledging to help shine a light on the problems faced by Pacific Islanders plying their trade in Europe.

“I've been lucky enough to spend the bulk of my career in New Zealand, obviously that's a top-tier nation,” said Vito.

“So I wanted to find out more about what's actually going on, go along to some of the meetings and lend a hand where I can. If anything it's a big learning curve for me.

“This association is a great outlet for the Pacific Islands people to voice their concerns on a political level in the game.

“The All Blacks obviously get looked after pretty well, but I know it's a very different story for some of my Islands brothers, so I want to be very open now to getting up to speed on all that.

“If I can lend my profile towards this and it can help, then that's great.”

Biarritz coach Raiwalui won 43 caps for Fiji and three for the Pacific Islands between 1997 and 2006.

The 43-year-old has since carved out a successful coaching career in France, following playing stints with Sale Sharks and Saracens in England.

Raiwalui believes PRPW can now hand Pacific Islands players a voice in rugby's corridors of power.

“This organisation is a stepping stone to getting that voice at the game's top level,” said Raiwalui.

“For too long there's never really been a voice for the tier-two nations to really express what they need.

“The more we lobby, the more people are starting to realise what Pacific Islanders offer to the world, and the depth of the Pacific Islands influence.”


Story by: Nick Purewal

NewsMark Sowerby