31 Mar 2023

Sports news in brief for March 31

1:33 pm on 31 March 2023
Samoa's Josh Papali'i is tackled during the 2021 rugby league World Cup men's quarter-final match between Tonga and Samoa at Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.


Rugby League - Four Nations

A plan has reportedly been drafted to have New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and Tonga contest a rugby league Four Nations tournament.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the plans were for a four-week tournament this year.

The centrepiece of the proposed tournament would be a double-header at Auckland's Eden Park in which Samoa and Tonga would meet in a repeat of their World Cup quarter-final, before Australia and New Zealand do battle.

It would also see Australia and Samoa repeat their World Cup final of October 2022, won by Australia.

The Herald says the emergence of Samoa and Tonga has made a competition in the southern hemisphere a potential money spinner, in particular if the Pacific powerhouses meet in Auckland, which has a large expat population.

A competition would be seen as a crucial platform for the next World Cup, which will be held in 2025.

Rugby league - Tonga

Meanwhile, England rugby league coach Shaun Wane says their proposed end of year test series against Tonga is not confirmed yet, but will "more than likely" happen.

The Rugby Football League is believed to be in advanced talks to bring Kristian Woolf's Tonga side to England later in the year.

Weightlifting - Oceania records

Samoa weightlifting's golden boy, Don Opeloge, has broken two Commonwealth and two Oceania records in the men's 102kg division of the Pacific Elite International Tournament in Melbourne.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist also took out the Best Overall Male lifter award, which came with a prize of $AU1,000.

Sanele Mao also powered through to win the men's 109kg-plus division.

Samoa's weightlifting team has been training in Australia, including the opportunity to go through a training session at the Oceania Weightlifting Institute in Dromana, Victoria, with lifting coach Paul Coffa.

PNG - cricket

Cricket Papua New Guinea will host its national men's T20 competition in May to preparation for the East Asia Pacific World Cup qualifier scheduled for July.

The July T20 qualifiers will see the Barramundis challenge Vanuatu, Japan and the Philippines to qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States.

The Barramundis are competing in Namibia in the Cricket World Cup League 2 one-day international series to retain their ODI status.

After losing their first game to the UAE on Monday, Barramundis head coach Mark Coles said the team needed to be more ruthless against their opponents to stay in the run.

Pacific Games - ambassador tour

The ambassador programme for this year's Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands has begun its second tour.

A group has headed to the Shortland Islands - part of the Solomon Islands' Western Province.

Boxer Joseph Saimei, a two-time Pacific Games champion in the super-heavyweight division, is the Solomon Islands 2023 ambassador on the trip.

Saimei is from the Shortland Islands which has become known for producing some of the country's best boxers.

The ambassador tour is an effort to promote the Pacific Games across the host nation and raise awareness about sport and its benefits.

The first ambassador tour saw sprinter Jim Marau visit communities in Central, North and North East Guadalcanal.

Eight other ambassadors are due to go out on tour.