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Immediate Future For Samoa and Tonga


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7 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

In the meantime, Tonga RU will have had around ten senior fixtures in the time between Tonga RL games.

It’s not good enough to just do the bare minimum.

After the 2017 World Cup RL could have really kicked on in the PI islands and really took over. Yes there has been growth but it could have been so much more.

If PNG, Tonga. Fiji and Samoa were playing at least 3 games each in a mid season Pacific 4 Nations plus games against Australia and NZ and northern hemisphere teams post season then I think the growth would have been phenomenal. As is there were few games, bar token matches, and now RU has changed its own eligibility rules in an attempt to fight back. RL could have really dealt RU an unrecoverable blow in the PI nations if they had just been given games.

Edited by Damien
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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

In the meantime, Tonga RU will have had around ten senior fixtures in the time between Tonga RL games.

It’s not good enough to just do the bare minimum.

This isn't all they did though is it? They effectively ditched the 4 Nations for the Oceanic Cup so that Tonga and the other Islands have the opportunity to play Aus/NZ on the big stage annually.

That plus the mid-season test is a starting point of 4 matches per year which then leaves room for either teams to tour Aus/NZ (as GB did in 2019) or for anyone to tour the NH in future years.

That really isn't the bare minimum, especially considering where we were previously. No doubt the Oceanic Cup will be expanded upon further to add in the Cook Islands and perhaps any further fringe Nations in the lower tier.

The caveat to this is it was all done under previous administration, so it remains to be seen what elements of that direction will be maintained. Not cutting the mid-season tests is a a positive start though, as the NRL has made losses on them for years and I definitely expected V'landys to shelf them for that reason. 

Edited by UTK
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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

In the meantime, Tonga RU will have had around ten senior fixtures in the time between Tonga RL games.

It’s not good enough to just do the bare minimum.

That’s the issue. I believe WR (God I hate that title) are moving to increase performances of the PI nations with this new rule and head off the attack that RL has made in this region.

For that reason alone, Tonga v Samoa is such a vital mid season clash.

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8 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

This might not be a critical concern for 50 years.

Immigration patterns show this will be an issue within 20 years, probably a lot less.

Compounding the issue is that immigration from the Pacific has dried to a trickle, those countries just don`t have the birth rates any more to sustain large emigration numbers. This combined with the introduction of 457 visas, i.e. you can come and work here but you can`t stay. The vast majority of Oz`s permanent immigrants now are highly skilled and educated immigrants from Asia.

8 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

As I understand it, the two new P.I. Super Rugby franchises have been established to represent Islanders, irrespective of from which location their Islander heritage derives. The prospect is that most of their players will be NZ or Oz born and raised indefinitely. These teams will blur the distinction between national and cultural.

Little different to a national team.

 

8 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

No reason why RL shouldn`t be equally flexible. We already have many games and events for Indigenous Australian and Polynesian participants. I don`t think anyone at the Murri or Koori RL carnivals worries about the grandfather rule.

Can of worms.

 

8 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

A common genealogy of a current NRL star with triple eligibilities is - grandparents born in Samoa/Tonga who moved to NZ, parents born in NZ who moved to Oz, player either born in Oz or moved to Oz as a child. For me, there`s more meaning and authenticity if such a player chooses Samoa/Tonga over NZ, even though it`s a generation further back. I suspect, in most cases, the player would feel the same.

More worms.

No seriously this is the classic example of the GF rule, most of those Grandparents emigrating will have taken place leading up to the 1980`s, 40 years ago. Their offspring will have been totally immersed in Oz or N.Z. culture, let alone their grandchildren.

This leads me to another point. No one expected David Fifita to declare himself available for Tonga, and it was only his convincing Jason Tuamololo was when it really started to gather momentum. Most of the young blokes they will be relying on to make that team a serious competitor going forward are as dinky-di Aussies as myself, Kotoni Staggs an example of the sort of player that will be crucial to their success. You can only get away with this for a short time, it would be like me playing for England because my great grand-parents were all English - meaningless.

 

9 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

If Eden Park hosted a huge "Island of Origin" event every year for the next 3 or 4 decades, with a full house and strong global TV ratings, that in itself would justify any initial NRL investment. The profile of RL would benefit enormously. If the game became a money-spinner, eligibility rules could and would be adjusted to ensure continued success. In that sense, not all that different from SOO.

I like the sound of this but once again how far back do you go, it could end a real shemozzle and once you lose credibility the crowds won`t come. Players are going to have to authentically represent their nation/people.

I think we will get 3 outside 4 WC`s out of Tonga and Samoa and by then hopefully France will be knocking on the door.

Better still for me though when all these players eventually have to choose a nation to represent and they have to make a decision between Oz and N.Z., due to eligibilty rules, and they choose N.Z. we will end up with a cracking New Zealand side that can beat the Aussies as much if not more than we beat them.

Then we will see Trans-Tasman Tests bigger than the Bledisloe and much more likely to transform that country to a League playing nation and grab the imagination of all Pacific nations. This will do more for League world-wide than extended efforts to keep the P.I. nations competitive.

Presently I fear we are just diluting the Kiwis for short term gain.

 

 

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13 hours ago, Damien said:

After the 2017 World Cup RL could have really kicked on in the PI islands and really took over. Yes there has been growth but it could have been so much more.

If PNG, Tonga. Fiji and Samoa were playing at least 3 games each in a mid season Pacific 4 Nations plus games against Australia and NZ and northern hemisphere teams post season then I think the growth would have been phenomenal. As is there were few games, bar token matches, and now RU has changed its own eligibility rules in an attempt to fight back. RL could have really dealt RU an unrecoverable blow in the PI nations if they had just been given games.

I agree with all this. 

However, at some point it has to be up to Tonga and Samoa to create national RL organisations with a bit of backbone and competence to create their own pathways and international calendars. If they don't then they are at the mercy of the NRL.

What is stopping the international federation of Samoa booking Mount Smart and agreeing to a two test series with Tonga?

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4 hours ago, Scubby said:

What is stopping the international federation of Samoa booking Mount Smart and agreeing to a two test series with Tonga?

Nothing. But there could be plenty stopping them having their better players available. 

The RLWC organizers booked stadia for a competition in 2021. 

Edited by unapologetic pedant
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12 hours ago, The Rocket said:

Immigration patterns show this will be an issue within 20 years, probably a lot less.

Compounding the issue is that immigration from the Pacific has dried to a trickle, those countries just don`t have the birth rates any more to sustain large emigration numbers. 

In their bios, I see a good percentage of Islander NRL players who qualify through parents. There is a large number coming through junior reps. Law of averages dictates some of these will fall into the same category. So, I reckon "20 years" is on the low side. I cited "50 years" as a high-side rhetorical figure to urge pragmatism.

If the supply of players through the grandparent rule dwindles at a point somewhere between 20-50 years, the state of international RL at that time will be the significant circumstance.

If the calendar is as spare and sketchy as currently, and NRL attitudes remain the same, all the deliberations about eligibility rules are academic. However, if the Pacific Test has become a massive, regular and lucrative event, it ought to prompt an appraisal of the sentiments determining national and cultural allegiance.

12 hours ago, The Rocket said:

 You can only get away with this for a short time, it would be like me playing for England because my great grand-parents were all English - meaningless.

I like the sound of this but once again how far back do you go, it could end a real shemozzle and once you lose credibility the crowds won`t come. Players are going to have to authentically represent their nation/people.

European notions of national identity are entangled with political questions around immigration and assimilation. These might not apply to Pacific Islanders. There will also be separate social dynamics between Oz and NZ. My impression of Pasifika communities in South Auckland is that they are no more likely than the Maoris to automatically equate their sense of communal belonging with NZ. Hence, the support for P.I. teams would persist indefinitely.

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14 hours ago, UTK said:

They effectively ditched the 4 Nations for the Oceanic Cup ...

Brilliant.

When's the next one?

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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21 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

Brilliant.

When's the next one?

That’s not true, the last Four Nations was in 2016, the first Oceania Cup was 2019, the Four Nations didn’t end because of the Oceania Cup, the Oceania Cup came about because the Four Nations was no longer in existence. The next Oceania Cup will be in 2023, every non World Cup year I believe, with 2020 cancelled due to Covid.

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1 hour ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

That’s not true, the last Four Nations was in 2016, the first Oceania Cup was 2019, the Four Nations didn’t end because of the Oceania Cup, the Oceania Cup came about because the Four Nations was no longer in existence. The next Oceania Cup will be in 2023, every non World Cup year I believe, with 2020 cancelled due to Covid.

Have you got a link to anything about this? I haven't heard anything along those lines.

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3 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

Nothing. But there could be plenty stopping them having their better players available. 

Th RLWC organizers booked stadia for a competition in 2021. 

This is the problem. Unless the NRL gets on board with the international game and starts really pushing it, then it's never going to develop in to anything more than what it is now in the Southern Hemisphere/Pacific region IMO.

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1 hour ago, RugbyLeagueGeek said:

Have you got a link to anything about this? I haven't heard anything along those lines.

A quick google search brings up this

The event, which will celebrate the best in Pacific Rugby League, will be broken into two Pools with Promotion and Relegation to exist in what is set to become an annual tournament.

https://asiapacificrl.com/2019/03/05/draw-for-2019-oceania-cup-released/amp/

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10 minutes ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

A quick google search brings up this

The event, which will celebrate the best in Pacific Rugby League, will be broken into two Pools with Promotion and Relegation to exist in what is set to become an annual tournament.

https://asiapacificrl.com/2019/03/05/draw-for-2019-oceania-cup-released/amp/

Thanks but that doesn't say there's going to be another one. That's the info I haven't seen. I'm not aware of any internationals having been planned past the World Cup. 

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4 hours ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

A quick google search brings up this

The event, which will celebrate the best in Pacific Rugby League, will be broken into two Pools with Promotion and Relegation to exist in what is set to become an annual tournament.

https://asiapacificrl.com/2019/03/05/draw-for-2019-oceania-cup-released/amp/

So not what you said and no plans at all in place for future tournaments.

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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8 hours ago, gingerjon said:

Brilliant.

When's the next one?

It's a better alternative for everyone except for England.

When the concept of the 4N was the top 3 Nations + a tier 2 nation from the respective alternating hemispheres it makes sense to ditch it. There is no clearly defined top 3 anymore and going off the last tour down here England wouldn't make the top 6. There is also now a much bigger gulf between the tier 2 SH  Nations and their NH counterparts.

The only viable way to make the 4N happen again would be to have England acting as the 4th Nation when alternating to the NH but missing the SH rotation.

Given the WC, the next one will be in 2023 I'd imagine.

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6 minutes ago, UTK said:

It's a better alternative for everyone except for England.

When the concept of the 4N was the top 3 Nations + a tier 2 nation from the respective alternating hemispheres it makes sense to ditch it. There is no clearly defined top 3 anymore and going off the last tour down here England wouldn't make the top 6. There is also now a much bigger gulf between the tier 2 SH  Nations and their NH counterparts.

The only viable way to make the 4N happen again would be to have England acting as the 4th Nation when alternating to the NH but missing the SH rotation.

Given the WC, the next one will be in 2023 I'd imagine.

So, you don't know when the next one is?

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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2 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

So, you don't know when the next one is?

Unlike the 4N, they were scheduled to be an annual event to return in 2020, Covid clearly scuppering that til this point. So yes, according to that schedule it'll be held in 2023.

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9 hours ago, unapologetic pedant said:

In their bios, I see a good percentage of Islander NRL players who qualify through parents. There is a large number coming through junior reps. Law of averages dictates some of these will fall into the same category. So, I reckon "20 years" is on the low side. I cited "50 years" as a high-side rhetorical figure to urge pragmatism.

If the supply of players through the grandparent rule dwindles at a point somewhere between 20-50 years, the state of international RL at that time will be the significant circumstance.

If the calendar is as spare and sketchy as currently, and NRL attitudes remain the same, all the deliberations about eligibility rules are academic. However, if the Pacific Test has become a massive, regular and lucrative event, it ought to prompt an appraisal of the sentiments determining national and cultural allegiance.

European notions of national identity are entangled with political questions around immigration and assimilation. These might not apply to Pacific Islanders. There will also be separate social dynamics between Oz and NZ. My impression of Pasifika communities in South Auckland is that they are no more likely than the Maoris to automatically equate their sense of communal belonging with NZ. Hence, the support for P.I. teams would persist indefinitely.

And that is why though a lot of these kids coming through claim to qualify through their parents (and in their eyes legitimately) closer inspection may reveal that those parents were probably born in N.Z., but as you say still identifying as P.I.

I searched high and low for immigration figures for Pacific Islanders into N.Z. the last time this topic came up and the despite being unable to nail down definite figures two things stood out: the vast majority took place in the post-war economic boom years and that it had dried to a trickle over the last decade or so.

Any way I`m not prepared to go to the mat on this as I just haven`t been able to find enough data and am largely basing my theories on my own experience having through various occupations met many Samoans, Tongans and Maoris when I was living in Sydney 30 years ago.

This still doesn`t detract from my main point though; a New Zealand team that had access to some of the current players that are declaring themselves for Samoa or Tonga would do more for Rugby League down here than the current situation where some of the best players are unavailable.

N.Z. with Addin Fonua-Blake, Taukieaho, Tuamalolo, throw in Luai etc. etc. etc. would pose a far greater threat to Australia and could be favourites a the W.C. They win that and return down here and beat us again I`ll guarantee they would be packing out grounds all over N.Z.. With the current farcical state of Oz/NZ union , Kiwis are crying out for competitive fixtures between our two nations in one of the rugby codes, and as in the union there has really been none for the last 20 years there is none for the foreseeable future either.

A world champion Kiwi Rugby League team playing and beating an Australian team in a three match series every year could be sold anywhere in Oz or N.Z. and would do more for unlocking investment dollars for more Rugby League teams in New Zealand, achieve that and the Pacific Islands will take care of themselves.

I wonder whether beating around the bush fighting for small Pacific nations that really only have a long-term future as second-tier teams is worth it. Unlike Hannibal who spent 15 years rampaging around Italy, we are best not making the same mistake and instead going straight for the source.

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14 hours ago, Scubby said:

What is stopping the international federation of Samoa booking Mount Smart and agreeing to a two test series with Tonga?

Tonga RL is a thread bare organisation. There is no way they have the resources or competency to manage a fixture of this proportion and neither do they have the funds to outsource it. 

As such, without up front funding or a guaranteed profit that the Tongan RL could not afford, they would require a firm which would take a huge cut of any profits to manage the operations. In which case, they are probably best aligned with the NRL to organise anything on their behalf and receive both the financial and non-financial benefits the NRL afford them.

Edited by Sports Prophet
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5 hours ago, Sports Prophet said:

As such, without up front funding or a guaranteed profit that the Tongan RL could not afford, they would require a firm which would take a huge cut of any profits to manage the operations. In which case, they are probably best aligned with the NRL to organise anything on their behalf and receive both the financial and non-financial benefits the NRL afford them.

Without NRL players and promotion, fixtures involving Samoa or Tonga wouldn`t be any different from the Pasifika rep games regularly staged by the Auckland RL. These are successful as local footy events, but they don`t translate to a higher level.

Good example was Auckland v Tonga NZ Residents in 2018 at Mount Smart. They were hoping for a good turnout following the WC the previous year, but there were probably no more than 500 fans in the ground.

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9 hours ago, The Rocket said:

And that is why though a lot of these kids coming through claim to qualify through their parents (and in their eyes legitimately) closer inspection may reveal that those parents were probably born in N.Z., but as you say still identifying as P.I.

This still doesn`t detract from my main point though; a New Zealand team that had access to some of the current players that are declaring themselves for Samoa or Tonga would do more for Rugby League down here than the current situation where some of the best players are unavailable.

Relate the above two paragraphs to the sort of player profiles I cited and it means they will be more likely to want to play for the Kangaroos than the Kiwis i.e. they see themselves as Aussies of Islander heritage. The time their parents spent in NZ between Islands and Oz is largely irrelevant to their identity. That inclination will be all the stronger if SOO selection is tied to Kangaroo availability. For Oz-born players of Maori heritage, it can be more complicated.

I still think RL should continue exploring the potential that accrues from the "identifying as P.I." sentiment. On and off the field.

Moreover, I believe with the right systems in place the Kiwis can lose some of their eligible players and still regularly compete with the best.

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On 30/11/2021 at 18:29, unapologetic pedant said:

Where are you finding this info? Usually I need a personal recollection to start me off looking in the right places and I didn`t follow international RL too closely from the time of the SL war to the 2013 WC. 

This would mean the French continued with a semblance of the traditional tour years after Lions tours had ceased. As far as I`m aware, the last time GB played any non-Tests in the SH was 1992 - unless you know otherwise?

I think everyone bar Sports Prophet would agree with that.

As bad an idea as French secret service agents flying out for a single rendezvous with Greenpeace.

I'm pretty sure GB played a couple of midweek non Tests on the 1996 tour, the Maori and AN Other team from memory but it's 25 years ago (that made me feel old) so I could wrong. 

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12 hours ago, Tom Moore said:

I'm pretty sure GB played a couple of midweek non Tests on the 1996 tour, the Maori and AN Other team from memory but it's 25 years ago (that made me feel old) so I could wrong. 

Details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Great_Britain_Lions_tour

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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On 02/12/2021 at 16:31, The Rocket said:

And that is why though a lot of these kids coming through claim to qualify through their parents (and in their eyes legitimately) closer inspection may reveal that those parents were probably born in N.Z., but as you say still identifying as P.I.

I searched high and low for immigration figures for Pacific Islanders into N.Z. the last time this topic came up and the despite being unable to nail down definite figures two things stood out: the vast majority took place in the post-war economic boom years and that it had dried to a trickle over the last decade or so.

Any way I`m not prepared to go to the mat on this as I just haven`t been able to find enough data and am largely basing my theories on my own experience having through various occupations met many Samoans, Tongans and Maoris when I was living in Sydney 30 years ago.

This still doesn`t detract from my main point though; a New Zealand team that had access to some of the current players that are declaring themselves for Samoa or Tonga would do more for Rugby League down here than the current situation where some of the best players are unavailable.

N.Z. with Addin Fonua-Blake, Taukieaho, Tuamalolo, throw in Luai etc. etc. etc. would pose a far greater threat to Australia and could be favourites a the W.C. They win that and return down here and beat us again I`ll guarantee they would be packing out grounds all over N.Z.. With the current farcical state of Oz/NZ union , Kiwis are crying out for competitive fixtures between our two nations in one of the rugby codes, and as in the union there has really been none for the last 20 years there is none for the foreseeable future either.

A world champion Kiwi Rugby League team playing and beating an Australian team in a three match series every year could be sold anywhere in Oz or N.Z. and would do more for unlocking investment dollars for more Rugby League teams in New Zealand, achieve that and the Pacific Islands will take care of themselves.

I wonder whether beating around the bush fighting for small Pacific nations that really only have a long-term future as second-tier teams is worth it. Unlike Hannibal who spent 15 years rampaging around Italy, we are best not making the same mistake and instead going straight for the source.

Good points there.  The Brits' weird idea that these tiny island countries can be some sort of game changer for the sport really does expose their small time way of thinking.

The only other sport where those countries are anywhere near the top is RU.  Even there for one of the PI teams to get past the group stage of their World Cup is very rare; only Fiji has achieved that in the five RUWCs played in this century and then only when Wales (which finished below Italy in that year's Six Nations) was weaker than usual so Fiji beat them in the WC.

Countries like that are never going to materially change RL's fortunes no matter how much some dreamers on here think otherwise.

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