Hawaii an option if Super Rugby is serious about Pacific Islands

Rain didn't spoil the party in Fiji at the weekend. Phil Walter/Getty Images

It has been interesting to hear the talk of late advocating a place in Super Rugby in the future for the Pacific Islands.

I have always been an advocate for their cause. Unless they can have a competition offering them some financial benefit they are never going to progress and nor will their national sides.

If they are included there will be issues around sponsorship and there needs to be a business model behind it; these competitions are about drawing money out of the public to go and watch and if you can't draw that money it is going to be tough.

There's also the case of where would they be based? Do you take them on the road or do they find a location where they can draw money out of people? If they are talking about a future for such a side they will no doubt be looking at those sorts of issues.

You could base a team in Hawaii at Aloha Stadium, which would appeal to the Island nations while also catering for interest in the United States. You could base a team in Auckland or Sydney but, really, all that does is dilute the public and the same dollar is there to be spent on the Blues or Waratahs, or the Pacific Nations team.

There has been a long time to study how it could best work and hopefully that would provide the correct business model.

Just how that would affect New Zealand, Australian and now Japanese, sides who include Fijians, Tongans and Samoans in their teams, remains to be seen. But New Zealand has always had a policy of picking New Zealand players first with the option of including two Pacific Island players. The first option of Pacific Island players should be playing for their team and that should be their pathway.

In the final analysis, New Zealand has to look at developing All Blacks. And if the Pacific nations have their own team their core responsibility is to develop their own players and the only reason they haven't done it is that they haven't had a competition to be part of to do so.

It would give them the vehicle to get stronger and if they get the chance to do it imagine what could result. The combinations they could build inside a Super Rugby competition could be truly amazing.

They are the perfect athletes for the game of rugby.

It is something that needs to be done from a rugby purist's perspective to help the second tier nations. It has to happen and the headache is on the financial side and how it all works.

In my mind, if Super Rugby is looking to tap into the U.S. then Hawaii and Aloha Stadium is the perfect place to situate it.

The exercise of taking a game to Fiji was a good one, in spite of the wet weather. The Chiefs, whose home game it was, did well once again demonstrating that it is still possible to beat top sides when decimated by injury.

Inside that camp there is a lot of self-belief in who they are as a team and as a squad, and that is a really good sign. It says a lot for the management team that obviously runs it. They've got a culture of self-belief that the Crusaders have had and that game on Friday showed who had surpassed who.

Dave Rennie's tenure at the Chiefs has just been fantastic. From where that franchise has been to where it is now, he has taken it to a whole new level. They didn't get there last year, but you would have to say they are contenders again and it will be interesting to see where Liam Messam fits in when he comes back now following his Olympic Games omission.

I guess it is a little sad for him for not making the squad for Rio, but that is just the nature of professional sport. He's probably got one eye on Ardie Savea and saying: "You b-----d, I wish I had made that call a few months back'.

The Highlanders aren't entirely safe either, especially having to meet the Jaguares away this weekend and then hosting the Chiefs in Dunedin in the last round. The Jaguares at home are a dangerous side, as they proved against the Bulls last Sunday.

I thought the Blues might have got a win watching that first half against the Hurricanes; there were a couple of pretty angry loose forwards in Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua who proved something on Saturday night. They're at different ends of their careers but they both sent out a 'don't forget about us' message.

Kaino was clearly unhappy about being put on the bench for the third Test against Wales and made an appropriate statement while Luatua saw Elliot Dixon and Liam Squire run out there when 16 months ago that was probably him.

The encouraging thing about that is that Luatua hasn't given up. And when you combined his efforts with Kara Pryor's game you could see how much it spurred on the rest of the pack. They had some real grit and hunger about them which, for a Blues fan, is great to see as it's been a long time between drinks.

The positive and abrasive nature in how they went about their game against the Hurricanes was a step up from what they showed before the break against the Crusaders. Take nothing away from the Hurricanes, they weathered the storm in the first half and came back from behind to put on a pretty convincing performance.

And talking about blindside flankers/locks; what about Vaea Fifita? I've watched that kid for a long time. He's Liaki Moli's cousin and I first came across him in the IRANZ Academy as a 16-year-old -- he's really got some talent. I noted Chris Boyd's comments that he had a bit of work to do on defence, but that is fairly typical of young guys who are still developing.

A lot of it is confidence. It's something you can work on, develop and coach and just because at one stage of their career they are not the most devastating tackler, it doesn't mean they can't get better.

The Hurricanes have got a tough finish to the competition against the Waratahs and Crusaders, but even the seven-time champions hit a bit of a speed bump at the weekend.

It's the time of the year when all the calculators come out. But the nature of the competition is that you have just got to keep winning. Everyone wants to have momentum going into the play-offs. And if you get to the final, you've still got to win it.