'It's like the Wild West' - Fiji's Rio Sevens hero takes a swipe at NZ and Australia over poaching raw Pacific talent

The Englishman hailed for Fiji's gold medal success at the Rio Games last month has come out firing at New Zealand, Australia and France, accusing them of poaching Pacific talent.

The Englishman criticises the big nations, saying they pinch Pacific talent. Source: Breakfast

Ben Ryan led Fiji to their first ever medal at the Olympic Games.

Ryan told the BBC in an interview that he is worried about the development of rugby in the Pacific Islands, saying that nations such as New Zealand, Australia and France are luring players away with big cash offers.

"Anyone can do anything, so it's the Wild West in that respect," the former Fiji Sevens coach told the BBC.

Ryan, 45, is concerned with the lack of licensed agents and rules around bigger nations plucking players from the Pacific.

Fiji's Osea Kolinisau scores in the sevens final.
Fiji's Osea Kolinisau scores in the sevens final. Source: Associated Press

He believes it will be the downfall of Pacific rugby with players opting to play international rugby for New Zealand, Australia and France rather than their country of birth.

"They get a Super Rugby contract dangled in front of them and they don't then come back across to play for Fiji," says Ryan.

"In 10 years' time, if things don't change, I see an Australian side with half their team coming from the islands, at least.

"There will be four or five others in France without doubt, because I know there are young kids there who are phenomenally talented and a year off getting residency, so it's inevitable unless we make something happen quickly."

After leading Fiji to victory over Great Britain 43-7 in the Olympic Games final, Ryan was given an honorary chief title and land.




Granddaughter following in sporting footsteps of New Zealand's oldest living Olympian

Our oldest living Olympian is adding to her list of proud moments, with her granddaughter following in her sporting success.

Ngaire Galloway (nee Lane) is getting ready to watch 17-year-old Gina Galloway compete at next month's 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.

Described as a "a powerful and stylish swimmer", Galloway was New Zealand’s first female swimmer to hold concurrent junior, intermediate and senior national records.

She was also the only swimmer and female in the New Zealand team to compete at the 1948 London Games.

Seventy years on, granddaughter Gina is showing the same form. Last year she won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas.

Gina visited her Nana in Nelson today for a final "goodluck" before her next big event.

The pair not only share the swimming gene, they are both backstroke specialists too.

"From a young age, listening to all her stories, of her travels, the friends she's made and the experiences she's gained from swimming has been really really inspiring," Gina told 1 NEWS.

Both agree the technique has changed , but the goal - to be the fastest- remains the same.

"Three years ago I was still swimming 30 lengths, but I struck some back trouble," says Ngaire.

At 92, she’s enjoying being a spectator.

"She's able to livestream into the races I'm doing and Dad always sends her the links so she can watch. It's always cool knowing she's watching from Nelson," says Gina.

Now Ngaire hopes to catch Gina's medal moment in Argentina.

"I'd probably just about collapse with excitement."

"You better be careful," she tells her granddaughter.

Ngaire Lane, 92, is getting ready to watch her granddaughter compete at the Youth Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS

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Former UFC champion Jon Jones to return to the octagon after 15-month doping suspension

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones should be eligible to fight by late October after completing a 15-month suspension for a doping violation.

The US Anti-Doping Agency today announced the length of Jones' ban for his second violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy.

The decision means the 31-year-old Jones could even fight at UFC 230 in New York on November 3, if the UFC decides to book his comeback bout on that card.

Jones is widely considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world, but he has repeatedly sabotaged his own career.

He reclaimed the light heavyweight title from Daniel Cormier last year, but the victory was taken away when he tested positive for a steroid metabolite.

Jones also failed an out-of-competition test in 2016.

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 29:  (L-R) Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Center on July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jon Jones punches Daniel Cormier in their UFC light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 214 event inside the Honda Centre in Anaheim, California. Source: Getty


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