Wales

Wales end Ireland's Six Nations hopes

North had been warned about his form by defence coach Shaun Edwards in the build-up to the game and responded by demonstrating his quality and power as Wales scored three unanswered tries in a hard-worked win.

RNZ reports Wales led 8-6 at half time.

Jamie Roberts clinched the game with Wales' third try in the 78th minute.

Ireland's New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt said his side paid a high price for a yellow card handed to first five Johnny Sexton which saw Wales score 10 points in six minutes either side of half-time.

World Cup worries for Wales

The next Rugby World Cup is two-and-a-half years away but it is suddenly looming large for the Welsh after a run of eight losses in its last 13 internationals, two of which have come in the Six Nations against England and Scotland.

Wales has slumped to No 7 in the World Rugby rankings and could plunge to ninth place with losses to Ireland in Cardiff on Friday (Saturday NZ time) and in France on the final weekend. That would mean going into the draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in May out of the top-eight seeds and facing the prospect of playing two top rivals in the pool stage.

Tonga still hopeful of playing at home

The Wales Rugby Union had expressed concerns about the availability of medical cover in Tonga, in case of a serious injury, and about the readiness of Teufaiva National Stadium, which is being redeveloped for the 2019 Pacific Games.

The 'Ikale Tahi have not played on home soil since a 2009 defeat against Fiji and head coach Toutai Kefu said they were desperate to change that.

"We kind of knew a while back that it was heading down that track, where that Welsh test was not going to be in Tonga," he said.

Prospect of Wales playing Ikale Tahi in Nuku'alofa not looking good

The Tongan government insists it can still get Teufaiva Stadium ready on time, and have the pitch in playing condition.

The General Secretary of the TRU, Filokalafi Akau'ola said he is not optimistic about Wales signing off on the game when they make their final inspection in just a few weeks’ time.

Tonga’s Hosting Wales in June is Still Uncertain

Wales Rugby Union CEO Martyn Phillipes confirms with Planet Rugby saying Tonga’s Teufaiva Park is nowhere near what you would need to host a game, although Tonga is committing to get to that. 

Meanwhile the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Siaosi Sovaleni told Radio and Television Tonga’s Sports News they’ve tendered the construction but the few companies who have submitted their bids, lack the professionalism to carry out the work.

He says, they are giving bidding parties a chance this week to complete the requirements.

WRU chief Phillips admits 'uncertainty' over Tonga tour venue

Wales are due to play two matches in the Pacific Islands, against Tonga and Samoa in June.

"There are still some things to iron out with Tonga, mainly that there isn't a pitch at the moment," he said.

"The stadium infrastructure is not in place so we are meeting with World Rugby again," Phillips added.

The game against the Samoans is scheduled for 24 June in the country's capital city Apia with relatively few qualms about that fixture.

Fifa fines England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland over poppies

England and Scotland players wore armbands featuring the symbol when they met at Wembley on 11 November.

Wales and Northern Ireland's respective games featured displays on the pitch or in the stands to mark the event.

England's Football Association will appeal against the fine of 45,000 Swiss francs (£35,311), with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland yet to decide.

Scotland and Wales were both fined 20,000 Sfr (£15,694), and Northern Ireland 15,000 Sfr (£11,770).

Former Tongan player hopeful of hosting Wales

Manu Vunipola, who now works for the Ministry of Sport as a development officer, said he helped host a Welsh delegation which visited the kingdom this month.

Wales is scheduled to play Tonga next year but the venue of the match is dependent on the dilapidated Teufaiva Stadium being renovated in time.

If not, the fixture could be moved to New Zealand.

Vunipola said he was hopeful the game would still be held in Tonga after showing the visitors around.

"We went to the hospital, we went to the hotel," he said.

Tonga rugby stadium being assessed for Wales' June 2017 tour

Medical and playing facilities are under review there.

Teufaiva Stadium in Nukuʻalofa is being rebuilt for the 2019 Pacific Games and WRU chairman Gareth Davies says the work may not be completed in time for Wales visit.

If the stadium does not meet criteria, Tonga will play Wales in New Zealand.

Samoa are also scheduled to host Wales on Saturday, 24 June.

Wales tour of Pacific in doubt

Tests are scheduled in Samoa and Tonga in June, but the games could be moved to New Zealand.

RNZ reports the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) say they want to play on the islands, but will pursue alternatives if guarantees over player welfare are not met.

The sport's governing body, World Rugby, helps tier two countries meet costs of hosting tier one nations.

World Rugby helped with appropriate medical cover when New Zealand played Samoa in Apia in 2015.