Rugby union in Tokelau
Like many other Pacific nations, Tokelauan rugby is a popular, but often not formally organised sport. Tokelauans due to their small numbers, and scattered island population, have often preferred rugby sevens to the XV game, although Tokelau did play rugby 15s at the 1983 South Pacific Games including a creditable 15–28 loss to PNG, a much larger Pacific nation.
There is also a semi-formal league structure.
Tokelau's main problems are related to population and geographical factors - its population is a mere 1,416, and lives on three widely separated tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean. All of this makes a rugby infrastructure difficult to construct, and the islands are beset by rising sea levels. The geographic future of Tokelau depends on the height of the ocean. No significant land is more than two metres above high water of ordinary tides. This means Tokelau is particularly vulnerable to any possible sea level rises caused by global warming. There is also a lack of land for specifically designated rugby pitches.
Rugby league comparison
Unlike most Pacific Islands, where rugby league is a recent introduction from Australia, the rival code has had a minor presence in Tokelau since the late 1980s. However, like some other national rugby league teams, the national side has relied on Australian based players with Tokelauan heritage to bolster its strength.
- Tokelau Sevens team
- Tokelau Community 7's
- Two days of rugby union sevens
- Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions