All the latest from the world of rugby
July 20, 2011
Posted by tom.hamilton on 07/20/2011
The New Zealand Herald's Chris Rattue reflects on Australia's loss to Samoa.
"The day is fast approaching when one of the small Pacific Island nations will, with any luck, genuinely challenge for the Rugby World Cup and that day can't come quick enough.
Somewhere along the line, a so-called minnow is fully capable of going beyond the cameo stage, especially if world rugby stops treating them like also-rans.
Samoa's brilliant win over Australia was a fantastic shot in the arm for rugby, and not the least because it exposed the major nations for what they are - vastly overrated.
Okay, so Australia didn't quite have the top team out, but Samoa - who face hurdles far beyond anything the Wallabies could envisage - were fully capable of beating whatever lineup Robbie Deans selected."
June 26, 2011
Posted by tom.hamilton on 06/26/2011
Daniel Lane writes in The Sydney Morning Herald of his experiences watching the growth of Fijian rugby.
"It's true, for I saw it with my own eyes. Rugby is the game they play in heaven … on earth.
On Yasawa Island, a Fijian paradise where palms sway in the hula breeze and life is good, rugby is as much a cornerstone of the tight-knit community as religion and family.
And while the Bukama Village church choir is blessed with voices so beautiful they could stop wars, their team, the mighty Bluestones - named after the stones that dot the island - play like demons.
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"There's no other way, is there?" asked Millitoni Tauvoli, the driving force of the Bluestones."
November 11, 2009
Posted by Huw Baines on 11/11/2009
Paul Rees talks to the Samoan squad as they get back to rugby following the devastating Tsunami in The Guardian
"Samoa will play their first international on Friday since a tsunami hit the South Pacific island at the end of September, wiping out entire villages and killing 123 people. The team are used to lacking the preparation of the major playing nations but the disaster has given it an added dimension with their head coach, Fuimaono Tafua, among the homeless and unable to join his players in Wales until last night because he was making arrangements for his family.
"There is complete devastation on the island," said the forwards coach, Peter Fatialofa, who captained Samoa when they defeated Wales in Cardiff in the 1991 World Cup. "People are still sleeping under coconut trees and in tents and their suffering is a big motivation for us on this tour. I was in New Zealand when the earthquake struck 10 minutes before the tsunami and I was on the phone talking to a friend when it happened. Those in my village were fortunate because they had a hill to run up but the coach's village was surrounded by flat land and many lives were lost.
"I flew to Samoa the following day after learning two of my extended family had died and it is hard to describe what I saw: you had to be there to appreciate the havoc that had been wrought. New Zealand and Australia offered help immediately and we are very grateful to the Welsh Rugby Union, which has launched a number of fundraising initiatives this week. A lot of aid has come in and building programmes have been started, but it will take a while to get the infrastructure back to where it was. It is an emotional time for all of us but we are determined to do well."
October 18, 2008
Posted by Huw Baines on 10/18/2008
No bright lights for Pacific Islanders
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Paul Ackford previews the return of the Pacific Islanders to UK shores, and reveals that there will be plenty of colour behind the scenes.
"In two weeks Sitiveni Rabuka, the former Prime Minister of Fiji, will check in to a Heathrow hotel as manager of the 28-man Pacific Islands' squad who will play Tests against England, France and Italy. The choice of Heathrow is deliberate.
"We didn't want our boys getting dazzled by the bright lights of London," said a spokesman for the party comprising the best players from Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.
"Not that the manager should have too much trouble maintaining focus. Major-General Sitiveni Ligamamada Rabuka, OBE, MSD, Order of St John - as he was once known - is best remembered as the instigator of two military coups that shook Fiji in 1987. Two years ago he was found not guilty, on a casting vote, of inciting a mutiny in 2000. Colourful bloke, Rabuka."