“It's racism, structural racism - the home unions know the threat, I think of our smaller unions getting too strong.”
Pakilau Aotearoa Manase Lua, Tongan elder and member of NZ Rugby’s Pacific Action Group, talks about the tough choices faced by players and the vast gap in resources between the powerful and the Pacific islands - and draws a troubling conclusion.
Former Tonga and Highlanders backrower and current Pacific Rugby Players head Hale T Pole tells us about how that gap led to some unconventional fundraising methods.
“We’re all wearing undies, dye our hair, everything.”
And the challenges he faces every day.
‘’Don't ever compare us, the Pacific Islands, to what other emerging nations have gone through. There's no comparison.’’
Wallaby great and current Tonga coach Toutai Kefu discusses the impact of all these issues on the players’ mindset.
John’s former Lions teammate and ex-Tonga captain Inoke Afeaki likens the exodus of Tongan players to overseas clubs to a “slave trade’ but the Tongan Prime Minister, Siaosi Sovaleni, argues that the problems with World Rugby are “being resolved”.
Available from February 9th on Apple podcasts, iHeart, Spotify, PMN and at RNZ.co.nz.
Fair Game: Pacific Rugby Against the World is made with the support of New Zealand on Air.
Written and produced by James Nokise, Talei Anderson and John Daniell for Bird of Paradise Productions, Radio New Zealand and Pacific Media Network
Language programme director - Matt Tufuga
Executive producers for RNZ - Justin Gregory, Katy Gosset and Tim Watkin
Sound engineers - Rangi Powick, Alex Harmer and Jeremy Ansell for RNZ, Harrison Edwards at PMN
Music and sound design - Anonymouz (Faiumu Matthew Salapu)
Visuals: Manatoa Productions, Anonymouz and Krista Barnaby (RNZ)
Additional reporting by Lice Movono
Additional sound recorded by Rudy Bartley at WT Media in Samoa
Special thanks to Don Mann, Lui Vilisoni, Lagipoiva Cherelle Jackson, Jodhi Hoani, Josie Campbell,
Elijah Fa’afiu and Inangaro Vakaafi
RNZ Commissioning - Jodhi Hoani, Tim Burnell
RNZ Acting Head of Content - Veronica Schmidt
RNZ Interim Chief Content Officer - Megan Whelan