Sivivatu, Samo in Pacific Barbarians

Former Wallaby Radike Samo competing in Super Rugby for the Queensland Reds. Photo: Zimbio

Former Wallaby Radike Samo competing in Super Rugby for the Queensland Reds. Photo: Zimbio

Former All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu and ex Wallaby Radike Samo have been named in a star-studded Pacific Barbarians line-up for Sunday’s clash against Tonga in Auckland.

Other ex All Blacks are Jerry Collins, Sione Lauwaki, Rene Ranger, and Justine Marshall alongside former Wallabies Rodney Blake and Digby Ioane.

Recent Tonga Test representatives Lua Lokotui, Kurt Morath and Taniela Moa are set to face off against their international team-mates as part of the combined team which is coached by former New Zealand number eight Wayne Shelford.

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Filed under Barbarians, International, Pacific Barbarians, Pacific Islanders, Tonga

Mack is putting something back

Phil Mack attacks against Fiji in their PNC clash last year. Photo: Ottawa Citizen

Phil Mack attacks against Fiji in their PNC clash last year. Photo: Ottawa Citizen

Phil Mack is a small man who has made a big contribution to Canadian rugby – and not just as a star of both formats of the game.

Mack, who won his 21st cap at Fifteens against border rivals USA in the Pacific Nations Cup in Sacramento last night, is also an eight-year veteran of the Rugby Sevens circuit.

Last season he was named in the HSBC Sevens World Series Dream Team and remains his country’s all-time record points scorer with just shy of 900 points from a half-century of appearances, a total that surely would have been more had he not undergone knee surgery two years ago.

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Filed under Canada, Flying Fijians, IRB, IRB Sevens series, USA

Pisi’s boot sinks Fiji

Samoan flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicked six penalties for Samoa's 18-15 win over Fiji. Photo: Skysports

Samoan flyhalf Tusi Pisi kicked six penalties for Samoa’s 18-15 win over Fiji. Photo: Skysports

Samoa fly-half Tusi Pisi landed six penalties to give his side a slender 18-13 victory over Pacific Island rivals Fiji in Suva.

Pisi kicked five first-half penalties to give Samoa a 15-5 lead at halftime and added his sixth penalty, Samoa’s only points of the second half, to finish with six goals for seven attempts.

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Filed under Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, Manu Samoa, Pacific Islanders, Pacific Nations Cup, Test, Tonga

Fiji eyes gold in Nanjing

Fiji U20 defends against Italy in the U20 RWC. Photo: IRB

Fiji U20 defends against Italy in the U20 RWC in New Zealand. Photo: IRB

Fiji has a good chance to win a gold medal in rugby sevens tournament at the Nanjing Youth Olympics Games from 17-20 August.

The International Rugby Board yesterday announced that Fiji will be one of the six teams taking part in the inaugural sevens tournament, a first in any Olympics programme. The other five teams are Japan, France, Argentina, Kenya and the USA.

The six teams competing in the women’s event are Canada, China, Spain, Australia, Tunisia and the USA.

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Filed under Fiji Rugby Union, Japan, Olympics, Youth Olympics

Island honour on line in ‘Battle of Pacific’

Samoa faces Fiji at the ANZ Stadium in Suva tomorrow. Photo: IRB

Samoa faces Fiji at the ANZ Stadium in Suva tomorrow. Photo: IRB

The final Pacific Conference match of Pacific Nations Cup 2014 will see Fiji host Samoa in Suva on Saturday 21 June to determine who will finish as the top side in the region.

Both teams have performed well in recent weeks with Fiji moving up one place in the IRB World Rankings to 10th following good wins over Italy (25-14) and Tonga (45-17) this month. Samoa, who drew against Tonga 18-all and defeated Italy 15-0 last week, also climbed up a spot to 9th.

The last time the two teams met was at PNC 2012 in Tokyo when Samoa edged Fiji 29-26. However, in 2011 in Suva, Fiji won 36-18. So it is all to play for and pride is at stake in what locals are describing as the ‘Battle of the Pacific.”

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Filed under Canada, Fiji Rugby Union, Flying Fijians, Focus on rwc, International, IRB, Manu Samoa, Pacific Islanders, Pacific Nations Cup, Test, Tonga, USA

Japan hires lineout coach

Former English skipper Steve Borthwick is new Japan lineout coach. Photo: Planet Rugby

Former English skipper Steve Borthwick is new Japan lineout coach. Photo: Planet Rugby

Japan coach Eddie Jones is eager for his side to peak at next year’s World Cup after an impressive nine-game winning streak for the national team.

Victories over Canada and the USA have made for an outstanding month for the Brave Blossoms, with this weekend seeing them face Italy in Tokyo.

And Jones believes it will be a difficult task to make it ten in a row when they face the Azzurri, a side they have struggled against in the past.

“It will be our toughest game of the year,” the former Australia head coach told reporters.

“Japan’s record against Italy is not impressive so it’s a fantastic opportunity to change Japanese rugby history.”

Japan’s recent success risks becoming a double-edged sword for Jones, however, as World Cup rivals devote more time to analysing how to avoid being upset in England next year.

“Of course we really want to peak at the World Cup,” said Jones.

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Filed under Italy, Japan, Pacific Nations Cup, Test, Tours

Williams backs Pacific Islands Test

Former All Black great Bryan Williams wants to see the All Blacks tour the Pacific islands. Photo: ESPN

Former All Black great Bryan Williams wants to see the All Blacks tour the Pacific islands. Photo: ESPN

All Black great Bryan Williams has backed the growing clamour for New Zealand to play a Test series in the Pacific Islands.

The news comes hot on the heels of International Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper’s statement the organisation would “love to see the All Blacks play in the Pacific, in Samoa, or anywhere in that region”.

Bryan Williams who knows the politics of the situation better than most. He played 38 times for the All Blacks between 1970 and 1978, helped coach Samoa in the 1991, 1995 and 1999 Rugby World Cups and held the position of New Zealand Rugby Union president during their 2011 World Cup triumph.

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Filed under All Blacks, Flying Fijians, Manu Samoa, Pacific Islanders, Tonga