rugby league

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.

Pacific Tests confirmed for Origin period

Six nations will compete during a three-match festival at Campbelltown Stadium on June 23. Tonga, Samoa, Lebanon and Papua New Guinea will be joined by two further teams to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Tonga coach wants NRL to invest more money in to Pacific teams

Tonga sealed their second win in the tournament against Samoa on Saturday night at a packed-out FMG Stadium in Hamilton.

The stadium was a sea of colours as fans showed up to sing, cheer and dance for their Pacific teams. 

Woolf says the experience was one of a kind and it proves that Pacific teams are worth the investment.

"The first step I think is putting on more games. We'd love to play Samoa every year and I know they'd love to play us every year and I'm sure the fans would love to see that as well."

Tonga savour watershed moment

With a 32-18 win over Samoa on Saturday night, Tonga made it two wins from two at the tournament and assured themselves of advancing beyond the group stage for the first time in five attempts dating back to 1995.

The victory in front of over 18,000 fans at Waikato Stadium was also just the second time Tonga have tasted victory over their Pacific neighbours in a rugby league Test match, with coach Kristian Woolf happy for his men to celebrate before re-focussing for their final pool game against New Zealand.

Rugby league revolution rewriting Tonga's curriculum

On the field, the nation has attracted a host of NRL stars to turn their backs on Australia and New Zealand and opt instead to represent Tonga while, off it, the sport has been entrusted with revitalising the country's physical education curriculum.

Nehumi Vanisi and Johannsi Pataleone Vi are barely old enough to remember when rugby league was the most popular sport in Tonga. In the early 1990s, the 13-a-side code was king in the Kingdom, helped by the Pacific-focused administration of rugby league in Australia.

Ireland on path to growing rugby league

"To be fair, that's not a bad crowd in Ireland," says captain Liam Finn.

Finn may or may not surpass Bob Beswick – absent from this tour as his wife is expecting – as Ireland's most capped player during this World Cup tour, with the uncertainty due to the fact that he believes he has more than Beswick's 25 Irish caps already.

"Who's got more? Bob Beswick? I'm sure I've got more," says Finn, who on a number of websites is credited with 24 international caps.

Tonga not looking past World Cup opener

Mate Ma'a Tonga have been the talk of the last few weeks, since Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita opted to switch allegiance from New Zealand and Australia at the 11th hour, and were quickly joined by the likes of Manu Ma'u, Sio Siua Taukieaho and David Fusitu'a.

Head coach Kristian Woolf said their preparations have been helped by the fact the players all know each other, have played together previously and know his expectations of them.

Lafai feeling responsibility to lift Dragons

Lafai's own personal form in 2017 started in a blistering pace, but along with the rest of Paul McGregor's men he has been inconsistent at the backend of the season. 

The former Bulldog put pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the Dragons in June and denied as a result he's taken the foot off the gas and become too comfortable. 

"It's a domino effect, if one player is off the rest can follow," Lafai told NRL.com.

"We got off to a great start along with myself but feel as though we've lost our way as a whole team.

Defence key to Panthers win

Their fourth win on the trot was typical of a side coming off a five-day turnaround and the Panthers stayed in control for most of the contest despite a low-scoring affair.

Penrith kept the Bulldogs scoreless in the second half before nabbing two late tries through Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Tyrone Peachey to seal another much-needed win and edge closer to the top eight. 

"We are obviously defending well and that gives you a lot of confidence. But you only defend well if your attitude is right," Griffin said post-game.