REUTERS: Fiji and Samoa have been assigned seats in the World Rugby Council after meeting the management criteria and possibly giving them more room to talk about how the game is being run.
Two countries whose teams have reached the last eight world championships will join the expanded council in May 2019, along with representatives from Georgia, Russia and the United States.
"We are pleased to welcome the Fiji and Samoa Council, two unions that have contributed so much to the game," said Bill Beaumont, President of the World Rugby.
"The Pacific islands are unique, submerged in rugby legacy, and I know that unions will give a great insight and make a big contribution to the board."
The World Rugby 49-member Board monitors the game's strategy and selects the World Cup tournament organizers.
The Pacific Island nations previously had only a part of the Council's voting rights through the Rhine Oceania representing 12 countries in the region, including power stations in New Zealand and Australia.
The Rugby Oceania has only two votes, while New Zealand and Australia are among the 10 countries – players playing rugby championships and six NATIONS – each having three votes.
The global rugby has long argued that Pacific island countries need better governance and administrative procedures before they can join the council as independent members.
Two years ago both Fiji and Samoa were rejected by the council until they improved their governance.
"It shows that the model is set up, the road is in place, and the doors are open to other trade unions who want the seat council," added Beaumont.
"We urge all trade unions to take inspiration from Fiji and Samoa, review their governance and strive to meet the necessary benchmarks."
(Greg Stutchbury's report to Wellington, edited by Nika Mulvennija)