Pacific in Union

The Pacific in Union (PiU) program is part of Pacific Sports Partnerships, an Australian Government initiative which uses sport as a vehicle to achieve social development outcomes in Pacific Island countries. 

The Pacific Sports Partnerships is part of the Australian Sports Outreach Program which is a broader joint initiative between AusAID and the Australian Sports Commission to use sport as a tool for development.


The PiU program is delivered by Australian Rugby Union in partnership with the International Rugby Board (iRB) and supported by various Pacific Island national Rugby Unions. 

The PiU program specifically aims to:
  • Contribute to social development outcomes
  • Increase participation in rugby union
  • Develop the capacity of national Rugby Unions
The PiU program also aims to assist in the achievement of targeted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and the rugby values of integrity, passion, solidarity, discipline and respect underpin all areas of the program.


The PiU program was launched in 2012 in three countries - Papua New Guinea, Samoa and the Solomon Islands. Local staff is employed as In Country Managers and Rugby Development Officers to deliver the program and are supported by their national Unions - PNGRFU, SRU and SIRUF respectively.
The program has been developed by education, development and Rugby experts from Australia and the Pacific region.
Program objectives
Program components
Contribute to social development outcomes
  • Combating non-communicable diseases by focusing on the promotion of healthy lifestyle messages (good nutrition, physical activity, avoiding alcohol and tobacco) at Rugby festivals and competitions and through classroom lesson activities.
  • Promoting gender equality by providing opportunities for girls and women to get involved in all aspects of program including teacher professional development, Rugby activities in the classroom and on the field, Rugby playing competitions and talent development programs.
  • Improving the lives of people with a disability by providing opportunities for them to get involved in a playing and/or non-playing role in rugby sessions, and Rugby festivals and competitions.
Increase participation in rugby union
  • Rugby4Schools program for Primary and Secondary school including Rugby-themed classroom resources, field lesson plans and organised intra-school and inter-school competitions including festivals and ongoing events.
  • Rugby4Communities program including training for community leaders in coaching, refereeing and event management so that they can establish a regular rugby playing competition.
  • Rugby4Coaches, Referees & Managers program including the delivery of iRB coaching and refereeing courses (including iRB Rugby Ready) to interested community members e.g. teachers, pre-service teachers, parents etc
Develop the capacity of the National Rugby Union
  • Providing professional development for PiU staff including accreditation as iRB trainers/educators.
  • Supporting national Union development programs.
  • Supporting talented coaches, referees and managers to improve skills through professional development so they can ‘give back’ to their national unions and communities.
  • Forging partnerships and collaborating with national Unions, other sports, ASOP in country programs, government organisations and non-government organisations to strengthen Rugby activities at the grassroots level.



A big thank you to Gilbert Rugby, who has helped over 20,000 Pacific Island girls and boys get healthy
and have fun playing Rugby in 2013, with the provision of hundreds of balls. Read more about it!


Photo Gallery

Pacific in Union homepage

Woodford High School students project work

Fun at the Vaigaga festival, Samoa

Teacher workshop in Makira, SI

Peace Chapel School teacher workshop, Samoa

Selwyn College SI student plays touch judge

Gordon Int School student kicks for goal!

St Joseph's Int College students prepare for festival

Selwyn College SI arrive at festival

Samoan kids enjoying their rugby

Samoan girls enjoy their official first try of Rugby

Rugby relays at Vaimea festival Samoa

Mrs Betty Crocker refereeing, SI

Ministry of Health reps deliver health messages, Samoa

Leepania Crocker being a touch judge, SI

IRB Educator Training for SRU staff

Gr3 Gordon Int School girls enjoy their rugby

PNG Gr1 Gordon Int School students try rugby

SI girls take on leadership roles at festival

Girls chain passing at Vaimea festival Samoa

Crocker family all involved at SI festival

Adopt a PiU School

Your chance to get involved! Any school or junior Rugby club can connect with a PiU school and participate in one or more of the following activities:

  • shared learning
  • donations and/or fundraising
  • student leadership
  • exchanges
  • other creative activities

If your school or junior rugby club is interested in connecting please submit the relevant Expression of Interest form below. 

  1. PiU Adopt-a-School Program - Schools
  2. PiU Adopt-a-School Program - Rugby clubs