rugby league

Tonga hopeful of Kangaroos clash

Tonga's coach Kristian Woolf said there had been talk of a match in October, with Qatar and Hawai'i touted as possible venues in an effort to expand the game globally.

Tonga made waves during the 2017 World Cup when they upset New Zealand, before narrowly losing to England in the semi-final while drawing large crowds everywhere they played.

They missed out on a requested rematch with the Kiwis this year, but a match against the Kangaroos was "more reality than fantasy," Woolf said.

Culture key to Warriors success

On March 10th 1995 a New Zealand rugby league legacy was born. The Warriors make history running through a lit Mount Smart Stadium tunnel for the very first time.

Among those who ran out on that historic day was a 23-year-old Stephen Kearney.

Now 23 years on, the team he now coaches will begin their season on the exact same date in Perth with an objective to get the club back to winning ways.

"Certainly the hard work that the boys have put in during the preseason is about putting it all together for round one." says Stephen Kearney.

Fifita still undecided over representative honours

However, Fifita will have to make a call at some stage given that Tonga play Samoa in a one-off test the same weekend as the second Origin match.

Fifita, who represented Tonga at last year's World Cup, has said he would wait until as late as the week before the first Origin clash before making a decision.

But Cordner said he wouldn't try to sway the front-rower either way, and insisted he would have no questions over Fifita's commitment to the Blues even if he left it to the last minute.

Suli failed to respond to Bulldogs warnings

This isn’t your typical rugby league bad boy story. Suli never breached the NRL’s code of conduct. There was no wild bender. No off-field misdemeanour. He’s a good kid.

But to put it simply, his heart just wasn’t in it. He lacked the desire to uphold standards required to play in the NRL and now finds himself on the brink of being lost to the game for good despite enormous talent.

When he was sent packing from the Wests Tigers just a month ago, the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs did their due diligence. They had heard the stories.

Kiwis World Cup review completed

New Zealand Rugby League has received a draft copy of the review which will be presented to the board at the end of the month.

The Kiwis failed to make the semi finals of the tournament, beaten by Tonga in pool play and then eliminated by Fiji in the quarterfinals.

In a statement New Zealand Rugby League chair Reon Edwards said the panel's findings will be made public early in March 2018, however the Board has agreed to make two immediate changes.

Tongan rugby league tackles challenge of building on World Cup success

Now, the Tongan programme faces a challenge familiar to most underdog New Zealand sports teams that have over-achieved on the world stage - how to make that success sustainable.  

But local administrators are adamant that further international glory - maybe even World Cup victory - is only a matter of time.

The real first test of this belief comes this week, when Tonga's Auckland-based U16 and U18 age group teams contest the Pasifika Youth Cup tournament, hosted by the New Zealand Warriors and New Zealand Maori Rugby League.

How Tonga’s World Cup campaign is inspiring the Titans in 2018

The NRL centre was part of the side’s courageous semi-final run at the Rugby League World Cup and, on returning this week to Titans training, said he had already drawn some comparisons between the sides.

The addition of Michael Gordon and Brenko Lee to the Titans’ backline has offset the departure of high-profile fullback Jarryd Hayne, as new coach Garth Brennan instils a workmanlike culture at the club.

Savea not ruling out code hop

Wing Savea appeared in the final Test against the British and Irish Lions on July 8 but was omitted by Steve Hansen for the Rugby Championship and the November internationals.

The 27-year-old has scored 46 tries in 54 Test appearances for the All Blacks – just four away from surpassing Douglas Howlett as the country's most prolific player.

Savea is contracted with New Zealand Rugby until the end of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, though he is seemingly open to switching codes with his place in the national team uncertain.

Pacific support for league could outstrip that for rugby

Damon Salesa, an associate professor of Pacific Studies at Auckland University, said rugby should have more Pacific people involved in its decision-making.

Fifty years ago there were 56,000 people described as Pacific living in New Zealand but by 2013 that figure had increased to almost 300,000.

In Auckland, more than one in four babies is Pasifika.

During the recent Rugby League World Cup, two Pacific nations, Tonga and Fiji, made the semi-finals, while the Kiwis missed out.

Tongan petition signed by 50k after 'heartbreaking' league loss

 Hundreds of Tongan rugby league fans gathered in central Auckland yesterday where they sang hymns in protest following a heartbreaking and controversial loss to England in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday. Hundreds of Tongan rugby league fans gathered in central Auckland yesterday where they sang hymns in protest following a heartbreaking and controversial loss to England in the World Cup semi-final on Saturday.