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.Damon Salesa said better decisions would be made by sports bodies if they had the input of Pacific people.”If there were Pacific people on the New Zealand Rugby Union, do you think they’d make the same decisions for instance, to admit a Japanese team to the Super 15 and not a Pacific team, to admit Argentina and not a Pacific team to the rugby championship.”They would actually make different decisions, and I think they would be better decisions.”Last month, about 1000 Tongan league fans marched down Queen Street in Auckland after fans said a decision by the referee during the Rugby League World Cup semi-final against England robbed Tonga of the win. While an online petition calling for a review of the same decision to disallow a late try to Tongan player Andrew Fifita gathered more than 50,000 signatures.Mr Salesa said the Tongans’ ability and power to organise a major parade through Auckland should make people wake up to the potential of these communities.”In order to organise the Christmas parade in Auckland you spend months and probably get sponsored by AT to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tongans organised almost as bigger parade in Auckland in a few hours on social media.”Mr Salesa said he found it moving that many players opted to play for their countries of heritage.He said former Kiwis forward Jason Taumalolo was called a ‘traitor’ and a ‘turncoat’ when he played for Tonga rather than New Zealand.He said New Zealand rugby and league has been built on the assumption that the team of choice will always be Australia or New Zealand, even for those Pacific players who only have fleeting relationships with these countries.”These guys showed that actually no, the place they were dreaming of playing for was Tonga and actually what we’ve seen is going to pose a real threat to the global rugby codes because now a whole lot of players look at what Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita did and their only regret is they didn’t do it too.”Mr Salesa said it raises questions of eligibility for rugby and league as sport is one of the last places where you have to choose between nations.He said it was possible to have a Samoan and Tongan passport, or a Samoan and a New Zealand passport but it was only possible to play for one rugby team now due to the eligibility rules, particularly in rugby union.
Among its many attractions, Ireland boasts some of the best pubs in the world. In fact, the Irish do traditional inns so well, they have become a global export, and you’re sure to find at least one Irish pub in any major town or city, wherever you are in the world. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the world’s oldest pub is to be found in Ireland. Sean’s Bar, in the bustling town of Athlone in central Ireland, is a popular watering hole that has been catering to thirsty customers since around 900 AD.Sean’s Bar, Athlone. Photo by Chris55 CC BY-SA 3.0According to The Irish Mirror, Sean’s Bar is officially included in the Guinness World Records as the oldest pub in the world, narrowly beating the Bingley Arms, another 1000-year-old establishment in Leeds, England.The pub was originally established around the turn of the 10th century when a local businessman decided to open an inn in order to take advantage of passing trade at the ford of the River Shannon.Sean’s bar music. Photo by Chris55 CC BY-SA 3.0Never one to miss an opportunity, he also began to guide travelers through the treacherous waters of the ford, and no doubt, directly into his pub.Athlone – Sean’s bar. Photo by Serge Ottaviani CC BY-SA 4.0According to The Irish Mirror, the man’s name was Luain, and he eventually gave his name to the town of Athlone itself, which was originally known as Atha Luain, or “the ford of Luain”.Athlone – Sean’s bar. Photo by Serge Ottaviani CC BY-SA 4.0The ford and the inn soon attracted visitors and settlers, and over the following centuries, the site grew into an important town. A castle was even constructed here in the early 12th century, by local ruler, King Turlough O’Conner. The bustling trade that accompanied the expansion of the town continued to provide a regular clientele for the historic inn.Athlone – sean’s bar. Photo by Serge Ottaviani CC BY-SA 4.0The 20th century owners of the pub had little idea of its significant past until renovations in the late 1960s revealed the remains of a wattle and daub wall that could be confidently dated to the early 10th century. According to The Irish Mirror, they also found a number of coins dating from the same period, perhaps dropped by customers who had consumed one ale too many.Sean’s Pub – Oldest in Ireland. Photo by Joseph Mischyshyn CC BY-SA 2.0Although the current building has been rebuilt, renovated and modernized over the centuries, it still contains many period features that date back hundreds of years. In particular, the characteristic sloping floor is believed to have been specially designed to avoid flood damage.Main Street, Athlone, Co. Westmeath. Photo by P L Chadwick CC BY-SA 2.0The inn’s close proximity to the River Shannon was advantageous for trade, but posed a challenge in heavy rain, when the river would often burst its banks, causing water to come cascading down the road and straight into the front of the pub.Sean’s bar. Photo by Serge Ottaviani CC BY-SA 4.0Sean’s bar. Photo by Serge Ottaviani CC BY-SA 4.0Instead of attempting to halt the flow of water, the pub’s owners simply built the floor of the pub on a slant, funneling the water straight out of the back door. They would then sprinkle sawdust on the floor to soak up the remaining water and prevent customers from slipping. This tradition is continued today, leaving the original floor of the pub in place.Related Video: American Slang words which come from the IrishAccording to The Journal, the reputation of Sean’s Bar has drawn an eclectic crowd over the years, and several famous faces have been spotted within its walls. Among its notable clientele are the Irish band U2, comedian and actor John C. Reilly, and Dallas superstars Larry Hagman and Linda Gray.Sean’s barThere is also a persistent rumor that Boy George was briefly the owner of the pub, but according to current owner Paul Donovan, this is fiction. In fact, the rumor originated from a joke made between the previous owners and some mischievous punters.More recently, the pub has begun to explore the rich local history of which it is a part. In conjunction with the West Cork Distillery, the owners have developed a unique blended Irish whiskey, bearing the historic name of the pub.Sean’s Pub – Oldest bar in Ireland – 900AD. Photo by Joseph Mischyshyn CC BY-SA 2.0Whiskey production has long been an important part of the local heritage, and the annals of the nearby Clonmacnoise contain the earliest ever reference to whiskey production anywhere in the world.Read another story from us: Historic London Pub once Frequented by Dickens now owned by Sir Ian McKellenToday, Sean’s Bar stands as a testimony to an ancient, yet thriving, Irish tradition, as locals and strangers gather together in the pub to share a drink, music, and good company.