SPORTS

Sir Michael Jones Wary Of Rugby League Threat

Rugby league is quickly growing around the world with more young Pacific rugby players making the switch early in their career.
20 Nov 2019 14:54
Sir Michael Jones Wary Of Rugby League Threat
Tiko Kece Taxi driver, Tevita Volau. Photo: Ronald Kumar

All Blacks legend Sir Michael Jones is wary of the threat rugby league is making in the Pacific players.

Rugby league is quickly growing around the world with more young Pacific rugby players making the switch early in their career.

“Rugby league is a powerful force in the hearts and mind of the next generation,”Sir Michael said.

“We can see how the leadership of rugby league is promoting the game in the Pacific so we have to make sure that we stay ahead of the pack.

“Rugby league is a pointer to how much we can contribute globally to a game so that’s a real challenge for rugby right now.”

Sir Michael added Rugby league offers good money for the players so they could support their families.

“The Pacific is well known for grooming and supplying good rugby league players to Australia and around the world,” he added.

“NRL players of Pasifika descent are now 48 per cent. This fact has created significant growth opportunities for international rugby league.

“In 1976, just 0.1 per cent of players in Australia’s first-grade competition were of Pacific Island descent.

“This slowly increased to 0.7 per cent in 1986, 10 per cent in 1996, 20.1 per cent in 2006 and 48 per cent in 2016.

“That’s a rise of almost 30 per cent in the space of 10 years.”

He said: “Players of Pasifika descent are some of the most entertaining and skilful athletes that game has ever seen so is a major positive for the sport when looked at from a macro level.

“One reason for the rapid increase (and there are many reasons given this is a multifaceted subject) is that the physique of Pasifika people is very well suited to the game of rugby league.

“Many Pasifika kids are strong and athletic from a very young age.

“They’re also often quite larger than other kids of the same age playing the game.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedbacksimione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



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