WELLINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - Kanaloa Hawaii have no intention of filling their ranks with veterans as they prepare for life in Major League Rugby next season and will instead look to develop the cream of talent from the Pacific Islands, the team’s general manager told Reuters.
The team, backed by a group of former All Blacks of Pacific Island heritage, were given provisional approval on Friday to join MLR, which cancelled much of its 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and saw its team in Colorado disband.
Kanaloa Hawaii management have set a minimum 25% quota for Hawaiian players and General Manager Cam Kilgour said he expected the rest of the squad would be young Pasifika players.
“I don’t want to manage a rest home. We aren’t looking for players coming towards the end of their contracts,” he said.
“The best talent in the world comes from the Pacific but no-one is developing it.
“We want to get the young guys at 20 or 21 who are just starting out and we are going to develop them with the best coaches and high performance plans we have.”
Kilgour added that the team would draw on the strong club and schools rugby competitions in Hawaii and that he also wanted to bring overseas-based Hawaiian players home.
“The talent and depth of rugby players in Hawaii is untapped,” said Kilgour.
“The big issue for me is that Hawaiians playing around the world come home and play in front of their families.
“We really want to get our Hawaiians back home and playing for us.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.