Pacific support for league could outstrip that for rugby

first_imgDamon 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.last_img read more

Roma counting on Dzeko-inspired miracle against Liverpool

first_img0Shares0000For Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco, striker Edin Dzeko (L) holds the key to unlocking their Champions League final bid against Liverpool on Wednesday © AFP/File / Filippo MONTEFORTEROME, Italy, May 1 – Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said Tuesday he is counting on another Edin Dzeko-inspired miracle against Liverpool to reach the Champions League final.Trailing 5-2 after the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, Roma need to score at least three goals at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday to reach the May 26 final in Kiev. Dzeko scored a crucial, late away goal in the 4-1 quarter-final first leg defeat at Barcelona and the opening goal of Roma’s 3-0 second leg win at the Stadio Olimpico that saw the Italians through on away goals.The Bosnian handed Roma another lifeline with an 81st strike after Liverpool had romped to a five-goal lead at Anfield last week, Diego Perotti adding a precious second from the spot four minutes later to keep Roma’s final hopes alive.“Players with his (Dzeko) qualities must be decisive as (Mohamed) Salah was in the first leg,” said Di Francesco.Former Roma forward Salah tore through his former club at Anfield, scoring twice and setting up two more goals.“We can’t change a team just for him (Salah) or put three players on him, we have to be good at raising the athletic level, giving little, but remembering that we have to score three goals.“We were at the mercy of Liverpool for 25 minutes and that cannot happen. We want to try and do something big in a stadium with 70,000 people.“If I could, I would copy and paste that performance against Barcelona, not just technically but on a mental and physical level,” he added, of their comeback from 4-1 down against the Spaniards last month to reach the semi-finals.“The desire to make another miracle happen must push us all to give that extra something.”Bosnian forward Dzeko has scored 24 goals this season for Roma in all competitions, and Radja Nainggolan warned he was ready to break his European drought.“I’ve never scored in the Champions League, maybe I’ll break through tomorrow,” said the Belgian.“We will try to complete another comeback, and although it will be complicated I’m the type of person who never likes the simple way.”Dutch defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman however has been ruled out with a leg injury.Roma lost the European Cup final to Liverpool 34 years ago, but Di Francesco warned: “The 1984 final is in the hearts of the people, but they are two games that cannot be compared.”Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s assistant Zeljko Buvac stepped aside this week for personal reason, and Di Francesco joked: “I’ve kicked out my assistant too to make it even!“It’s internal stuff, I’m not preparing the game based on that. We’ll face a strong and determined team which represents a great club, one with a great history in Europe.“I don’t think one staff member can make a difference.”Off-pitch tensions are also high as Liverpool supporter Sean Cox lies in a coma after being attacked before last week’s first leg in Anfield.“There are bad apples among all fans,” said Di Francesco. “I’ve already said that I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sean Cox and his family and I’m against all forms of violence, like we all are here.“There are good fans in Rome, we can’t allow a small number of fans, which I think there are in England too, to ruin our beautiful sport.“I want to make an appeal, it must be a joy to come to the stadium tomorrow.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Rowing Wins Four Races at ICRI Regatta in Illinois

first_imgDrake raced against several Illinois clubs, including the host, Illini, DePaul and University of Chicago as well as clubs from Marquette and St. Thomas. The Bulldogs had multiple boats competing, including four varsity 4s, one pair, one varsity 8 and one 2nd varsity 8. The varsity 4 race featured a preliminary race in the morning followed by a grand final this afternoon for the boat as it placed second. The others races were just finals as the Bulldogs won each of those races. “We had a few that doubled up in boats and stepped up,” DiSilvestro said. “We feel we’ve had two really good back-to-back regattas after today and in Indiana last week. “We need to make sure we have another good week of training and take that with us to Buffalo for another tough weekend of racing against 2 tough very good conference opponents who we haven’t seen in a while.” “We are really proud of the team for their performance today,” said head coach Charlie DiSilvestro. “They handled tough conditions with a strong head wind most of the day so times were a bit slower, but every lane had the head wind. They went out and executed and to win four out of five races is great.” FARMER CITY, Ill. – The Drake University rowing team won four races Saturday at the sixth annual Illinois Collegiate Rowing Invitational hosted by the University of Illinois rowing clubs. The Bulldogs made their first trip to the regatta, which was contested on a 2,000-meter course on Clinton Lake, and were the women’s overall champions for the most team points with victories in four of their five races. V8- Rambhia (cox), Rebischke, Baumeister, Konopacki, Abrams, Thacker, Rundquist, Packer, Frantik (1st)2V8 – Killian (cox), McNeely, Gowans, Shipley J., Coffman., Hunter, Smith, Janes, Masterson (1st, 8:33)V4 A – Prien (Cox), Bascio, Rimes, Dahlstrom, Finnnell (2nd)V4 B – Riester (cox), Rundquist, Peterson, Stock, Nikolic (3rd, 9:44.6)V4 C – Rambhia (cox), McNeely, Gowans, Hunter, Smith (1st, 8:54.9)V4 D – Killian (cox), Shipley, Coffman, Janes, Masterson (2nd, 9:32.4)2x – Abrams, Frantik (1st, 9:45.6) Print Friendly Version Following Saturday’s race, Drake travels to Buffalo, N.Y. for the Black Rock Cup, where it will compete against fellow Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference members, host Canisius College and Robert Morris, on April 29. Drake Lineup/Results last_img read more