Tonga

Hansen won't wrap All Blacks in cotton wool

The All Blacks, who name their 31-man World Cup squad next week play Tonga in Hamilton on September 7th before facing South Africa in their opening Pool B clash two weeks later.

Hansen said he was wary of his first-choice players losing sharpness between last weekend's 36-0 victory over Australia at Eden Park and their World Cup opener.

"We'd like probably most of the frontliners to get some form of game-time in the Tonga game, otherwise it's too big a break before we play South Africa," Hansen said in comments published by Stuff Media.

Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney pools confirmed

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said today the format of the pools would ensure key rivals face each other in the fast-paced, action packed short form of Rugby League.

During the official launch of the tournament Monday in Parramatta, it was revealed that:

Cook Islands to face Tonga for netball gold

Cook Islands booked a place in the final by defeating Papua New Guinea 58-31 at the Multisport Centre, Faleata, urged on by their boisterous fans.

“This is great for Cook Island netball. Last time we were in a gold medal match was 1991. We have a huge support base, both here and at home,” said coach Suzanne Evans.

Both teams entered the game undefeated from pool matches. Cook Islands took the lead and kept PNG goaled for the first four minutes.

Samoa and Tonga reach tennis men's doubles semis

In the men’s doubles quarter finals, Tongan brothers Matavano and Semisi Fanguna upset second seeds, PNG’s Mark Gibbons and Matthew Stubbings, to progress to the semi-finals. An excited Matavano Fanguna said: ”This win means a lot. It’s our second Pacific Games but our first time to progress to the semis”.

Tonga one of six hopefuls to stage 2027 Pacific Games despite withdrawing as 2019 hosts

American Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Tahiti and Vanuatu have also lodged their interest with the Pacific Games Council (PGC).

The declaration of interest from Tonga is one of the most eye-catching of the potential contenders.

The kingdom was awarded the 2019 Pacific Games back in 2012, having seen off competition from Tahiti.

Tonga's Government withdrew from hosting the Games in 2017, citing financial concerns as the motive for the decision.

It led to the PGC reopening the bid process and selecting Samoa as replacement hosts in December 2017.

Rotary and UNICEF team up to vaccinate the Pacific

The "Give Every Child a Future" project is the major international focus of civil society group Rotary as it celebrates 100 years of service in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific.

Rotary will partner with the United Nations children's agency UNICEF to support the introduction of three vaccines in the region.

Vathinee Jitjaturunt of UNICEF Pacific said the vaccines targeted three diseases.

"This project I think it will be able to prevent diarrhoea, pneumonia and cervical cancer. These three diseases are high in the Pacific."

Pacific nations to host future Tests in new 10-year rolling calendar

RLIF CEO Nigel Wood confirmed on the eve of Saturday’s opening round of Oceania Cup matches between New Zealand and Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium and Samoa and Papua New Guinea at Leichhardt Oval that the international body wanted to play games in the Pacific islands.

An RLIF meeting in Singapore earlier this month agreed that the Oceania Cup would be staged mid-year and at the end of the season on an annual basis, except in 2021 and 2025 when the World Cup is held.

Draw made for football competition at Samoa 2019 Pacific Games

Conducted by Football Federation Samoa, the draw used seedings based on FIFA rankings.

In the men's event, six teams had been set to be placed in Group A and five in Group B but due to an mistake on the day, five teams were drawn for Group A and six for Group B.

To rectify this, a straight swap was carried out in the match schedules between the groups.

Group A features hosts Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand under-23s, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu.

New Caledonia are the top seeds in Group B, alongside American Samoa, Tuvalu, Tahiti, Fiji and Solomon Islands.

Marshall and Foran remain in Kiwis squad

The veteran halves are in a 19-strong group announced by coach Michael Maguire, with regular five-eighth Kodi Nikorima having been ruled out of contention by the Warriors.

Maguire confirmed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will retain the captaincy, even though a shift to the wing or centres looms following the return to availability of star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who missed all of last year's five Tests.

Veteran hooker Issac Luke is in the group of eight players cut from the 27-man group unveiled midweek ahead of Saturday's clash in Auckland.

Smokefree Pacific Games re-enforces healthy message

Athletes, officials, spectators, volunteers, and the workforce involved in the Games are reminded that the event is smokefree.

May 31, which is just 37 days until the Opening Ceremony kicks off a fortnight of sporting competition, is the annual No Tobacco Day organised by the World Health Organization.

The annual campaign raises awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and aims to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.