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Thursday, January 12, 2006

 

Rugby Personalities: Tana Umaga slams anti-Pacific tirades


To be frank, I don't blame him.

This situation is always looked at as if the big bad NZRFU go to the islands and strip them of any available talent.

I suspect the truth is that most Pacific Island parents are only too happy to get into Australia or New Zealand, have their child brought up there.

It is rare where a situation arises that the New Zealanders actively go out and canvass for a player.

Tana Umaga, who announced his retirement from international rugby on Tuesday, has taken a swipe at the ongoing criticism of the number of Pacific Island players in the All Blacks team.

Umaga, speaking to the New Zealand Press Association (NZPA), said he was tired of northern hemisphere critics who regularly accused New Zealand of poaching the best players from the Pacific to bolster the All Blacks, believing the "grief" was ill-informed and unjustified.

Umaga, the first All Black captain of Polynesian heritage, said his parents moved from Samoa to New Zealand in the 1950s for one main reason.

"They emigrated as everyone else's did to give their children the best that they could," Umaga told NZPA.

"For us to be at the pinnacle of our country, how else could you better promote your family and give back to your parents for the sacrifice they made to leave their families to come over here.

"My parents love me being an All Black."

Other families arrived more recently than the Umagas, while some All Blacks teammates such as Fijian-born winger Joe Rokocoko are native to the islands. But Umaga said the theme remained the same.

"All these Pacific Islanders that are here, we're just living it for our families," he said.

"These people overseas that don't like what we do, they think [New Zealand] is pillaging.

"They don't have Pacific Islands close to them in the northern hemisphere, otherwise they'd be having it."

Umaga said for many of the Pacific Island players, the travel and public commitments involved with playing for the All Blacks was an enormous culture shock.

He had made a point of making life for these players more comfortable.

"We try to duplicate that family environment by making friends and never leaving them alone. It's when you're alone that you start feeling lonely and think about home," he said.

"You just make sure they have someone there to talk to."
Comments:
G'day Rasputin,

This is a timely note from Tana Umaga. I have already written a longish article on this subject and it will appear in my first Newsletter for 2006.

Not only the NH lot is making a lot of noise, as there has been a fair ammount of vicious hysteria emanating from this site from a couple of hotheads.

I've gone into this subject at some depth, and I'm quite sure that ordinary decent people will line up beside me with my comments.

Patrick.
 
Patrick,

I've emailed you again. I hope you received my first mails, I know the hotmail thing can be dodgy.

Anyway, I plan to email you again precisely over what you are discussing here.

Our intent here is to present ALL rugby news, without bias, from wherever or whomever, it might come.

We chose to not be prejudicial, biased or xenophobic in what we report.

Comments are obviously a different situation, and as long as it is not racist, bigoted or generally offensive it will not be censored.

That doesn't always suit us, South African rugby or our visitors but it's a small price to pay for at least a limited freedom of expression.

If, and when, it gets out of hand, we will unfortunately have to deal with it.

In the interim, I don't think it is on here that you've experienced the 'viscious hysteria', it might be from the better known SA rugby site?

If it is us, I apologise and know that you accept, in the interests of an interesting and dynamic site, we sometimes let things go past that us, the Founders, do NOT subscribe to.

I trust that if there is anything that is particularly offensive you will bring it to my attention immediatly and I will kill that comment, failing that, post your point on the thread and one of 6 of us will deal with it as soon as we see it.

The bottom line is, Patrick, we have huge respect for our old foes, it is not in our lexicon to insult New Zealanders, beyond normal teasing, and we don't intend to do it.

But, we have to respect the right for our commentators to express their views as well.

It's a hard balancing act, Patrick, I trust you will accept that we have no interest or fortune in insulting the nation we most respect as rugby enemies.
 
i also think this robbery argument is getting old. what i did find interesting and what i will watch with interest is something i picked up on a zinzan brooke comment as mentioned in the big black hole article.

will PI's have the same respect for the new captain, who almost certainly will be a 'white guy' in McCaw, as they had for 'one of their own' in tana?

like i said maybe i read too much into the brooke comment knowing race is basically a non issue in NZ, but i found the comment a very interesting.
 
I agree PA

Surely the same would apply to us with regards to people like Bobby Skinstead and Gary Teichman and Corne Krige and Tonderai Chavanga.

I wonder if Patrick would care to comment on the news reproted yesterday that Tana had a special relationship with the PI players in the Kiwi squad.

It may be a sensitive question, but the article appeared to implicate that he had this ability to inspiure them because he was also a PI. This leaves me with the counter of the coin of whether this implies that a non PI skipper may not be able to establish such a rapport.


Patrick


Although I would agree that there are cogent reasons why players would want to leave the islands to make a better life for themsleves in NZ and Aus, do you not agree that this migration has seen a marked decline in the quality of rugby we've had from the PI's in the past ten years?
 
David,

So far as I'm aware there has been NO deterioration in PI rugby as you describe it.

I'm not sure what year the Samoa teamfirst played in the RWC but bearly all of the players came from the various NZ Rugby unions game, and NOT from the Islands. I repeat that the rugby played in the Islands is far below that of club rugby in NZ. I've repeatedly advised that the Samoans (from Samoa) play a test most years against a NZ test team made up from the Second and Third divisions of our NPC comp (CC).

Patrick.
 
Thanks Patrick

I was alluding to the showings of Tonga in 1999 RWC and (then) Western Samoa in the RWC 1991 and 1995.

On each occasion those sides reached the quarters

This was markedly NOT evident in 2003.

I'm certain that the same argument could be made out for players who have left Zimbabwe, Namibia and other southern african countries to come and play in SA.

All I'm saying is, given the way they've been dismantled by the other 3 SH powerhouses the last few years, there is, to me, an indication that the players from the islands are electing to rather qualify for the AB's and Australia (in the case of the Tongans) than play for their islands.

I'm not criticising the players or their families at all and I can see why they'd want to do that. Hell if I were in their position I would do exactly the same thing.


I am, however saying that the lure of a better life, rightly or wrongly, has been damaging to PI rugby on an international level.
 
David,

You've missed the point again. Almost all the players in the years mentioned came from out of the Auckland Rugby Union scene per se - they couldn't make it for the AB's so someone dreamed up the idea of calling the various groups Samoa, Tonga. Fiji have been in the International scene as their own entity for some considerable length of time. Probably the only reason we see so few Fijians playing in the AB's is that they first qualify for Fiji in the Sevens, and consequently lose their chance of playing for another International side.

In recent years the Polynesians have learned to play the NZ way and as such have a far better chnace of stepping up to AB standard, which is what they have done.

Patrick.
 
It works like this.Life is tough on the islands employmeny and wage wise.You can enter NZ if you are a islander.Within months you are eligeable for the dole.So they get enough money on the dole to lead a easy life in NZ plus send some money back home.So the spend their days lazing around or playing krieketie in the park when not playing rugga.I have seen this and has had this verified by lots of people while in NZ.
Geniet haar manne
bliksem
 
Mr. Anonymous,

Such a brave fella - didn't have the guts to leave a name. Again you are wrong - no-one can enter NZ without a valid passport from their own Country. Polynesians can't come here and automatically get the dole. The can't get the dole unless they are citizens. Many of them stay with relatives until their trip period expires.

There are almost no paid jobs in Samoa other than if you're working for the Govt. It is an Islands community and has changed little in 200 years. They grow their own food etc.

If you see them in NZ playing around in the park it could well be that they have not got a job because they don't have work experience - hence they tend to start with manual labour jobs. However, if you go through any large establishment you will see Polynesians working in all levels of the undertaking.

Really, you fellas should take a grip on your keyboard, and resist posting such blithering rubbish about a country that you have not got the foggiest clues on how it works, or is run.

I'm starting to sound like a Guy from outer space, but fellas like you should be placed in a mental institution,

Patrick.
 
Mr. Anonymous,

Such a brave fella - didn't have the guts to leave a name. Again you are wrong - no-one can enter NZ without a valid passport from their own Country. Polynesians can't come here and automatically get the dole. The can't get the dole unless they are citizens. Many of them stay with relatives until there trip period expires.

There are almost no paid jobs in Samoa other than if you're working for the Govt. It is an Islands community and has changed little in 200 years. They grow their own food etc.

If you see them in NZ playing around in the park it could well be that they have not got a job because they don't have work experience - hence they tend to start with manual labour jobs. However, if you go through any large establishment you will see Polynesians working in all levels of the undertaking.

Really, you fellas should take a grip on your keyboard, and resist posting such blithering rubbish about a country that you have not got the foggiest clues on how it works, or is run.

I'm starting to sound like a Guy from outer space, but fellas like you should be placed in a mental institution,

Patrick.
 
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