'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.



Watch: MLB batter mortified after bat slips out of hands, flies into crowd and hits fan

MLB slugger Devon Travis was left visibly shaken in his game yesterday after an at-bat went horribly wrong and his bat hit a fan in the forehead.

Travis was batting in the eighth innings for the Blue Jays in their contest against the Red Sox when his bat slipped out of his hands on a big swing.

The bat managed to clear the netting which stretches down the baseline at Fenway Park in Boston, soaring nearly 15 rows into the crowd before it hit a fan.

Security rushed to the injured fan's aid with towels and a stretcher while also taking the bat away.

The injured supporter managed to stand on his own though, pumping his left fist to thank the crowd as he received a huge cheer.

Travis' night got worse with the Blue Jays going down to the Red Sox 1-0, giving the Boston franchise their 100th win of the season.


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'He's a little dog' - Kiwi UFC fighter Mark Hunt unloads verbal tirade on 'weak minded' drug cheat Fabricio Werdrum

New Zealand mixed martial arts veteran Mark Hunt has unleashed a tirade of verbal assaults at former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum ahead of his bout at UFC Fight Night in Russia.

Hunt is headlining the UFC event at Moscow's Olympic Stadium, set to fight Alexei Oleinik on Sunday (NZ time).

He told media he was excited to fight in Russia and was extra pleased to fight someone close to his age.

"He's a clean fighter, so it's great,” said Hunt.

The 44-year-old has had a long battle against performance enhancing drugs after facing a rivals who had failed tests, namely former champion Brock Lesnar.

Hunt unloaded a war of words on Werdum after he was handed a two-year suspension by the US Anti-Doping Agency.

"I'm glad that Fabricio Werdum got caught, that little b****," said Hunt.

"Go back to the favelas. F*** you, you little c***. Good job. He was supposed to be here, but that's what you get for being weak. That's what you get, Fabricio, for being a weak-minded person. See you later."

Mark Hunt v Fabricio Werdum Source: Associated Press

Werdum was meant to face Oleinik in Russia but was withdrawn after an out-of-competition test conducted in April showed the steroid trenbolone and metabolite epitrenbolone in his sample.

Hunt has fought several fighters who have failed drug tests - Lesnar, Frank Mir and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva.

His UFC 180 fight with Werdum is topical, with the Brazilian fighter going on to win the UFC's interim heavyweight belt and then going on to beat Cain Velasquez for the undisputed heavyweight title.

"I had to lose 21 kilograms in three and a half weeks to make that a title fight," Hunt said.

"I got kneed in the head by that little cheater. Then he beats Cain in Mexico. That really upsets me about that guy.

"Then he wouldn't fight me – he's just a cheating little b***, man. He's a little dog, that guy. See you later, Fabricio. Enjoy, mother f*****.”

Hunt has a MMA record of 13 wins 12 losses and 1 draw with eight wins in the UFC, six losses and one no contest bout.


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New Kiwi baseball team attempting to lure young Black Sox softball star

The manager of New Zealand's first professional baseball team is trying to lure one of the country's best softball players back to the other side.

Steve Mintz is in the country ahead of trials for the Auckland Tuatara in three main centres this weekend and says they want Pita Rona there.

“I reached out to him and he showed some interest,” Mintz told 1 NEWS.

“We’re hoping he comes out and we’ll see what he’s got.”

Rona was tipped for big things in baseball after signing a contract with the Baltimore Orioles but he was released after two years in 2014.

The 24-year-old recently arrived back in New Zealand after touring Europe with the World Champion Black Sox where he helped the side win the Intercontinental Cup in Prague.

The Auckland Tuatara have invited Pita Rona to trials this weekend. Source: 1 NEWS


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