rugby league

Tonga to unleash Hopoate, Jennings and Fifita

The Bulldogs have been subjected to heavy criticism for announcing their players would not be available for the May 7 City-Country match at Mudgee but that is due to scheduling as they play North Queensland just four days later.

If NSW coach Laurie Daley had advised that he wanted any specific Canterbury players to play City-Country with a view to assessing them for State of Origin selection, the Bulldogs would have allowed them to do so.

Kiwis forward set to become richest player in league

The Dally M medallist is on the verge of signing a 10-year contract worth over $10 million with North Queensland, according to a News Corp Australia report.

The deal, which will see 24-year-old Taumololo become a Cowboys players for life, dwarfs that of superstar teammate Johnathan Thurston who signed for $5 million four years ago.

An official announcement of Taumolo's re-signing is expected as early as today.

"We are very hopeful of keeping Jason," Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini told News Corp Australia.

Rugby league star Andrew Fifita shares despair, redemption in Christchurch

The 27-year-old NRL prop for the Cronulla-Sharks arrived in Christchurch from Sydney with his wife, Nikki,​ and two young children on Wednesday morning.

Fifita, who is Tongan and Aboriginal, was invited to speak to whanau in east Christchurch ahead of a Pacific Series 2016 tournament at Wainoni Park on November 11 and 12. 

Fifita did not hold back as he talked candidly about his upbringing in a state house in Western Sydney, his "troubled teenage life", the harsh realities of his professional football career, battles with weight gain and his descent in to depression. 

Vanuatu urges league bosses to help emerging nations

RNZ reports a locally-based Vanuatu team defeated Solomon Islands 24-15 in Port Vila at the weekend in their first international match for two years.

Head coach Lionel Harbin said it was a typically physical encounter between the Pacific nations.

"It was a great feeling's been a long wait since rugby league has been played by the Vanuatu people and it was great that they got the win in front of their home crowd," he said.

Vanuatu beats Solomon Islands in rugby league clash

Vanuatu were down 8-0 at half time.

They ran in 5 tries to 2 to end the game on a high.

The game was a welcome return to the international arena for Vanuatu after a scheduled match last year was cancelled following the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam.

Coach Lionel Harbin earlier told RNZ a lot of his players have not played a game of rugby league since last year and can't wait to run out onto the field.

Kiwis go down in Perth to Kangaroos after lacklustre effort

In a test that was short of thrilling moments, Australia put in a workmanlike performance to record their second straight win over the No 1 team in the world.

The Kangaroos outscored the Kiwis five tries to one, with a big problem for New Zealand being knowing what the right move should be when attacking on the last tackle.

The spark that guided them to the outstanding 26-12 win over the Kangaroos in Brisbane last year, just wasn't there and other than the big runs from Jason Taumalolo, there were few 'wow' moments from players in black and white jerseys.

Vanuatu and Solomons back from rugby league wilderness

It's a welcome return to the international arena for Vanuatu after a scheduled match last year was cancelled following the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam.

PNG stuns Fiji in a thriller

Fiji led 16-8 at the break but had no answers for a PNG side that helped breathe fresh air into the international game. 

Papua New Guinea's spine proved the difference in the end with halfback Watson Boas scoring a double, his brother Ase kicking four goals and hooker Wartovo Puara Junior proving a handful whenever he touched the ball with two try assists. 

Rugby League World Cup to expand to 16 teams

The decision means that the tournament will equal the record number of teams, with 16 nations having competed at the 2000 World Cup, which was staged in the United Kingdom, France and Ireland.

In 2008, the event featured 10 teams, and the most recent tournament, held in England and Wales during 2013, saw 14 nations participate.

Australia, who are the reigning champions, are due to co-host the 2017 World Cup with New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, where 14 teams will again be present.

Sydney Roosters trying to lure Sonny Bill Williams back - report

The Daily Telegraph reports the National Rugby League club has met with Williams' agent Khoder Nasser in the past week and will attempt to lure the headline grabbing All Black midfielder back to Bondi Junction with a lifetime contract.

Roosters boss Nick Politis wants Williams wearing a tri-colours jersey as soon as this year — and he's prepared to offer him a multi-million-dollar lifetime contract to make it happen.