Set against the English Rugby Football Union’s decision to give £75,000 of the hefty gate receipts they will take from their meeting to the cash-strapped Samoans the first impression is that the Scottish Rugby Union is being a bit stingey in simply sticking to their duty to cover the tourists’ expenses.

The hosts of Saturday’s match are, after all, set to enjoy something of an unexpected windfall since ticket sales already thought to be in excess of 60,000 represent a huge increase on what would traditionally have been expected for a match against one of the teams from the South Sea Islands.

It seems reasonable to presume they will make substantially more this time around than when hosting Georgia in Kilmarnock last year or Tonga at Pittodrie a few years ago, taking into account the additional costs of stadium hire and the much smaller capacities. Yet a valid point was made when officials pointed out that, unlike most others, Scotland have done their bit in recent years by agreeing to play Test matches in the South Pacific.

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Admittedly there seems some doubt as to how much money the Samoan authorities were in a position to make when Scotland visited Apia a few years ago given the size of their ground and the ticket prices they must charge to make it affordable for locals. However in terms of promoting the sport it is surely vital that they, Fiji and Tonga, should be given the chance to host matches.

The bigger issue is one that the sport’s international authorities have long needed to address because instead of making the progress that they should have, given the raw talent available to all three, professionalism has seen them pillaged.

Rules designed to prevent the poaching of that talent have instead worked the other way as, in many cases, players are now identified in their teens and enticed to the antipodes or Europe so that they are qualified on residency by the time they have reached the senior ranks. Extending the residency period from three to five years will do nothing to prevent that, instead merely deterring the recruitment of what have become known as ‘project players,’ namely those who have discovered at senior level that they are not going to make it in the country in which they grew up.

The more important qualification area is bloodlines and, for all that their methods are mocked by the smugger elements in the 15-a-side code, rugby league has gone a long way towards getting that right in allowing what amounts to freedom of movement between international teams, rather than forcing players to commit for life at an early age.

Add into the mix financial security and the environment was created for a surprise development at the Rugby League World Cup when players who identified more with their Tongan heritage than with Australia and New Zealand for whom they had previously played and opted to switch, instantaneously creating a new contender for the trophy. The players in question could only do because of the huge salaries they are now commanding from clubs in the big money National Rugby League, but what has happened is illuminating.

There are, admittedly additional considerations with the technical considerations in rugby union which make it vital for players, however talented, to work together more intensively in order to perform effectively as units. However a high percentage of South Sea Islanders now have the potential to earn decent salaries in Super Rugby or in Europe.

At international level neither the occasional hand-out from the rich and powerful, nor the occasional Test match in their modest stadiums is going to make the difference for the likes of Fiji, Samoa – whom I watched play a ‘home’ match against Scotland in Wellington in 2004 as they tried to find a way of making money by bringing the match closer to wealthier ex-pats – or Tonga.

However if the authorities are serious about extending the global game beyond the handful of established powers, the key to the future will be ensuring that these teams have what they need to spend as much time together before and during international windows and that surely means a better distribution of the money they contribute to raising in the Test arena.