BREAKING: Two Pacific Island teams given green light to join Super Rugby in 2022

New Zealand Rugby has granted provisional licenses to two Pacific Island teams, allowing them to join Super Rugby in 2022. Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua are the two sides who will join the ten existing Super Rugby clubs in an expanded and combined 12-team competition next year. The duo’s inclusion is not yet completely […]

BREAKING: Two Pacific Island teams given green light to join Super Rugby in 2022

New Zealand Rugby has granted provisional licenses to two Pacific Island teams, allowing them to join Super Rugby in 2022.

Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua are the two sides who will join the ten existing Super Rugby clubs in an expanded and combined 12-team competition next year.

The duo’s inclusion is not yet completely confirmed, with final approval of their licenses conditional on sign-off from Rugby Australia, and their final business plans.

The latter were given a large boost last month when World Rugby committed an annual funding package of £1.2 million ($AUD2.12 million) for three years to support the two sides.

“We are moving into the final phase of planning for 2022 and beyond, and we have confidence that Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua will be able to meet the conditions of the licence, which includes final sign-off on a sustainable business plan by 30 June,” NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said.

“In the next two months we will be working with Rugby Australia and the two Pasifika teams to formalise their place in the new competition for what we believe will kick off an exciting, new era for the professional game.”

The inclusion of a Pacific Islands team in Super Rugby has been a discussion for some time, with Auckland mooted as a potential location for a Pasifika side. Moana Pasifika played their first game last year against the Maori All Blacks, a match that ended in a narrow 28-21 defeat for the new outfit.

The Drua, who joined Australia’s National Rugby Championship before its demise and won the competition in 2018, will play some of their matches in Fiji, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald could also be based partly in western Sydney.

“Obviously Fiji is a small market. We would definitely look at playing matches externally. Whether that’s in Australia, New Zealand or whatever other opportunities become available to us,” .

“With the Fijian and Pasifika communities in both countries and throughout south-east Asia, there are huge communities and huge support for anything Fiji rugby. That’s definitely an opportunity.”

Michael Jones, who played for both the All Blacks and Manu Samoa and is now an NZR board member, lauded today’s decision.

“We are now on the cusp of realising a long-held desire to include Pasifika in our professional game and the opportunity to embrace all that comes with that,” Jones said.

“With the approval of licences, Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua can now forge ahead with the final stages of their business plans and crucially start to lock in their playing and coaching rosters for next season. It’s an exciting time for rugby.”

Source : The Roar More   

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Leathering it: Who has the biggest boot in world rugby?

Watching Super Rugby Aotearoa highlights in the UK are regularly filled with Jordie Barrett satisfyingly nail 55 metre shots at goal with pure ease. Given the uniqueness and high demand of a long-range boot, here are a few candidates who have serious claims to possess the largest kicking game in the world. Jordie Barrett His […]

Leathering it: Who has the biggest boot in world rugby?

Watching Super Rugby Aotearoa highlights in the UK are regularly filled with Jordie Barrett satisfyingly nail 55 metre shots at goal with pure ease.

Given the uniqueness and high demand of a long-range boot, here are a few candidates who have serious claims to possess the largest kicking game in the world.

Jordie Barrett
His general form has been awesome of late and he cannot stop striking audacious shots at goal.

Scouring youtube, it seems his longest attempt is 63 metres against the Chiefs last year or a similar distance against the Jaguares before the pandemic.

His simple and smooth kicking technique is a sizeable factor in his ability to strike the ball with power and accuracy. He is the lone, long ranger that New Zealand will need to utilise and have needed for years, given Beauden Barrett’s inaccuracy from the tee, and the smaller but sharp boots of Richie Mo’unga and Damian McKenzie.

Reece Hodge
Agonisingly missed three long-range attempts that would’ve handed Dave Rennie four wins out of six in a debut season with a young, highly inexperienced squad.

The Wellington thunderbolt was perhaps the unluckiest, with the post upright saving a famous Wallabies win in Wellington. The third Argentina miss was more of a shocker but that does not shade the fact that Hodge has a big, levering kick on him that Australia have not fully utilised.

A 60-metre shot on Test debut showed and regularly nailing shots from 60 out for club and country means that Hodge’s boot will rarely be questioned on distance, but rather direction and ability to absorb pressure.

Reece Hodge (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Francois Steyn
Possibly has the most valid claim, given how many extra years he has on Hodge and Barrett, but spending time on the Highveld has undoubtedly led him to possessing a gargantuan kick – a recent 64-metre effort against the Lions shows at his age, he still has it.

His most iconic showing of his right foot is probably a monster drop-goal from 60 out against Clermont over a decade ago.

Elliot Daly
While his England form has been suspect recently, there is no doubt about his ability to whop a kick. His most memorable is probably from 2018 against South Africa in Johannesburg, with a 61-metre kick being made to look easy.

His all-round kicking game, versatility and monster boot ultimately deserved him a starting spot against New Zealand for the Lions. While hard for him to make this year’s on current form, but he definitely has the biggest kick in the home nations, perhaps something Warren Gatland will consider before his squad announcement in May.

Handre Pollard
No surprise to see another South African, but what’s impressive about Pollard is that he likely has the longest kicking range for a natural flyhalf, whereas the other players mentioned are only back-up or utility 10s.

His accurate goal kicking ultimately played a huge part in South Africa’s World Cup success, with a drop goal from 55 out against the All Blacks showcasing his ability.

Providing he is fit, don’t be surprised to see him and Steyn launch some rockets from 60 out to sink Warren Gatland’s men for every ill-disciplined Maro Itoje penalty ceded.

Source : The Roar More   

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