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Pacific Rugby Not Moving: Jones

  Former All Black Michael Jones says Pacific Island rugby is not progressing as it should be. The 50-year-old is in the country to celebrate Matson South Pacific’s partnership with
13 Dec 2015 20:28
Pacific Rugby Not Moving: Jones
Michael Jones of Matson Shipping with other members of the company during the fund presentation by Matson Shipping to Uto Ni Yalo Fund at RSYC last Friday. pic......RAMA

 

Former All Black Michael Jones says Pacific Island rugby is not progressing as it should be.

The 50-year-old is in the country to celebrate Matson South Pacific’s partnership with Williams & Gosling Limited.

“It’s quite tragic really,”Jones said.

“We argued this issue at the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia,” Jones said.

“When I was involved with Samoa Rugby we made the statement that it would be a real tragedy that in 10-15 years we are still talking about the same thing.

“And here we are, 13 years later and we still need a solution for Pacific Island rugby to be participating in a professional league.

“Whether it’s the Super 15 or Southern Hemisphere test series; I think my concern is that Japan seems to be getting a lot of support and momentum and look at what has happened for their rugby.

“Pacific Island rugby has not really moved forward where we should be because we have players who are naturally gifted but we are just not moving at the same pace as the rest of the world.

“It all comes down to resources and a tournament that can really build your game and develop our players to be able to compete at the highest level week in,week out.”

Nicknamed “Iceman” he  said with the 2016 Rio Olympics, it will be a massive year for Pacific Island rugby, in particularly, Fijian rugby.

“Obviously for us in the Pacific it’s such a significant year for us because it’s historic that for the first time 7s rugby will be at the Olympics,” he said.

“That means that teams like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have a chance of a medal and that’s a huge motivation for any nation.

“That alone makes that such a massive year for island rugby and in particularly Fijian rugby because if anyone from the island has a real chance of getting a gold medal, its Fiji.

“I think there is a lot of anticipation not just here in Fiji, Tonga and Samoa but also New Zealand , Australia where our Pacific communities are based and the hopes for a lot of people are resting on the seeing our  island teams make history and win an Olympic medal.

“This has taken rugby to a whole new level and you can see the popularity of 7s which is just unbelievable, especially when you see teams from all over the world now participating.

“And they are doing really well like USA who beat the New Zealand twice in one day in Dubai which is scary.

“It’s a positive but it’s all because of the momentum around the Rio Olympics, so it’s a great for the game of rugby but its especially great for Pacific island rugby.”

Edited by: Osea Bola

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