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Vavaitamana aims for 2023 Touch Rugby World Cup – FBC News

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National rep Adi Wati Vavaitamana aims to go a step further in her 18-year touch rugby career.

Vavaitamana has been playing touch rugby since her years in primary school and has so far only represented Fiji in the 2019 South Pacific Games.

She was part of the Fiji women’s team that finished third in last year’s Pacific Games.

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Currently playing for the Nabua-based Eastern Hawks team, Vavaitamana hopes to impress national selectors as scouts begin for the Touch Rugby World Cup in 2023.


“I’ve achieved going to the SPG last year and now I’m looking forward to the competition again. The main aim is to represent touch rugby further internationally especially the world cup in three years’ time and for another SPG.”

Vavaitamana and the Eastern Hawks women’s team reached the final of the Suva Touch Rugby competition held on Saturday at the St Marcellin Primary School ground in Vatuwaqa.


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World Cup

Rugby-Namibia criticise decision to host African Rugby World Cup qualifiers in France

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Namibia coach Allister Coetzee has slammed the decision to host next year’s African qualifiers for the Rugby World Cup in France rather than on the African continent. Zimbabwe, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Uganda and Senegal will compete in the Rugby Africa Cup in July 2022 in France, which serves as the final qualifying competition for the 2023 World Cup that the French are also hosting.

“I have never seen such a decision being taken in any other sport code – like a football tournament meant for Africa staged in Europe, or the other way around,” Coetzee said in an interview with the state-owned daily New Era. He said the qualifiers should have been used to develop the game on the continent, where rugby remains a minority sport.

“This competition is important to see the best players in Africa play in front of an African audience,” he added. In a statement, Rugby Africa said its executive committee had considered the well-being, health and safety of the players when it voted for France to host the continental qualifiers.

It said France had the best match stadium, hotels, security measures and health standards. “With a long tradition of hosting Rugby Africa tournaments and activities, France and Rugby Africa are already in a close collaboration process which will provide the eight competing teams with an exceptional tournament,” Rugby Africa said.

Namibia, who have represented the continent alongside South Africa at the last six World Cups, face Burkina Faso, while Zimbabwe, who played at the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and in 1991, will play Ivory Coast in the first round of the knockout tournament. Senegal will take on Algeria while Kenya face Uganda in an East African derby in the other opening-round fixtures, with the victors proceeding to the semi-finals.

The winner of the knockout tournament will go into Pool A at the World Cup in France alongside the hosts, New Zealand, Italy and a qualifier from the Americas. The runner-up in the African qualifiers gets another chance at reaching the World Cup through a playoff tournament.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Why it is too early for England to write off George Ford

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There is a danger of overreacting when it comes to any England squad announcement, let alone a training squad for a camp which lasts three days and includes only one training session on the field. England lock Charlie Ewels’ understanding of what lies ahead for the 45-man squad in camp is “loads of admin, kit fittings, suit fittings, headshots in five different kits…” The masterplan of how to win the next Rugby World Cup will not be drilled into the attending players in between smiling for the camera.

Although, you become so accustomed to reading the same names listed in each England squad over the years that when a familiar player is suddenly out of the mix, even for a three-day meet-up, eyebrows are raised. Elliot Daly is injured, but the message from Eddie Jones to the quartet of high-profile omissions who are not – Jamie George, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola and George Ford – was clear. “They probably haven’t been at their best over the last period of time, so we are giving them the opportunity to find their best.”

You can see Jones’ point with the first three. George failed to make the Lions Test squad in South Africa. Mako started the second Test but Wyn Jones was always the preferred choice at loosehead when fit. Billy was overlooked for the tour altogether.

Ford is a more interesting case. No, he wasn’t part of the Lions tour either. But anyone who watched him help dismantle Exeter last weekend would surely take issue with the idea that the England fly-half is searching for any form. Those searching for proof need to only watch Ford on Friday evening when he takes on Gloucester at Kingsholm.

“You can see by the way he played the sharpness he had in his game,” Leicester’s head coach Steve Borthwick said about Ford after defeating Exeter. “He’s only going to get better and better. I watch him on the training field and he’s sharp. He controlled that game brilliantly.”

No England player has won more caps under Jones since the head coach took over in 2016, with Ford making 60 appearances. Only a single ‘tier one’ player in the world has made more Test appearances in that timeframe; Australia captain Michael Hooper.

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Former All Blacks flanker Waka Nathan dies aged 81

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Waka Nathan at the opening ceremony of the 1987 Rugby World Cup at Eden Park.

John Selkirk/Stuff

Waka Nathan at the opening ceremony of the 1987 Rugby World Cup at Eden Park.

Waka Nathan, a star loose forward for the All Blacks in the 1960s, has died aged 81.

Nathan, who suffered from dementia in his later years, was nicknamed the Black Panther and played 14 tests for New Zealand, never being on the losing side.

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The All Blacks and the Springboks play their 100th test match in a storied rivalry on Saturday night.

He made his All Blacks debut in 1962 on a tour of Australia and was a standout for the side on their tour of Great Britain in 1963-64 despite suffering a broken jaw, scoring 11 tries in 15 matches.

He was described by late All Blacks great Sir Colin Meads as “that most virile runner with the ball in hand, great at exerting pressure close to the forwards.”

READ MORE:
* Famous All Black Waka Nathan appointed life member of New Zealand Māori Rugby Board
* How Māori influences put New Zealand on the world rugby map

Former All Blacks prop Bill Bush, who played in NZ Māori teams selected by Nathan in the 1970s and toured Wales with the team when the latter was manager in 1982, said his death would “rock the Māori world, for sure’’.

Bush credited Nathan for helping to revive Māori rugby after he retired from playing. He was a New Zealand Māori selector between 1971-77.

“He was a proud Māori, and a guy with his mana encouraged a lot of guys backed him,’’ Bush said. “We all got on board with him.

“He had mana because he was such a great player. Mana, for Māori, is very important. If you have no mana, you struggle.’’

Former All Blacks star Waka Nathan with legendary rugby photographer Peter Bush.

Kent Belchynden/Stuff

Former All Blacks star Waka Nathan with legendary rugby photographer Peter Bush.

Respected for his bravery on the field during his playing days, Nathan wasn’t a big talker off it.

Bush said Nathan wasn’t always comfortable making speaking in public, but there was a different side to him when he was among friends and players.

“He was a man of few words. He wasn’t into giving speeches, he wasn’t that sort of guy.He was very shy. But amongst us Māori boys he had no problem.”

Former All Blacks prop Bill Bush (right), pictured with former test captain Tane Norton, said Waka Nathan was highly respected by Māori because of what he achieved on the rugby field.

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Former All Blacks prop Bill Bush (right), pictured with former test captain Tane Norton, said Waka Nathan was highly respected by Māori because of what he achieved on the rugby field.

Nathan played 88 games for Auckland after making his debut as an 18-year-old. Late in the 1960 season, he scored a dramatic last-minute try for his province against Canterbury which fullback Mike Cormack converted to retain the Ranfurly Shield with a 19-18 win, the All Blacks website reported.

He was a former President of the Auckland Rugby Union, Patron of the Auckland Rugby Union and an Auckland Rugby life member.

Nathan was also given the honour from New Zealand Rugby to run onto the field and start the proceedings for the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 at Eden Park.

He was honoured by Auckland Rugby for his commitment and devotion to the union as a player and administrator with the creation of the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup, which Auckland Rugby’s premier club teams compete for.

Waka Nathan enjoying the final of the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup between Papatoetoe and Waitemata at Papatoetoe Recreation Ground in 2015.

David Joseph/Phototek

Waka Nathan enjoying the final of the Waka Nathan Challenge Cup between Papatoetoe and Waitemata at Papatoetoe Recreation Ground in 2015.

“It is with great sadness that Auckland Rugby acknowledges the passing of Waka Nathan,” a media release from Auckland Rugby said.

“Waka was a man of incredible mana who devoted a large part of his life to Auckland Rugby. Waka will be missed greatly, and our condolences go out to the Nathan whānau at this time.”

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