Opinion: Take a long, hard look NZ - diehard Tonga and Peru sports fans are putting us to shame

New Zealand, we need to up our game off the field.

If there's anything to take away from the past few weeks of international sporting action it's this – we as a sporting nation have brilliant teams with sub-par fan bases.

Before you grab your pitch forks, think about it.

Mate Ma'a Tonga's supporters have stolen the show at this year's tournament says Joseph Tapine. Source: 1 NEWS

When was the last time we showed the same diehard passion and love for one of our national teams that Mate Ma'a Tonga has seen in their Rugby League World Cup campaign?

When was the last time we filled a stadium or an airport with deafening songs, chants – even dancing?

When was the last time we were so desperate to see our team win we lit fireworks in front of the opposition's hotel to disrupt their sleeping patterns?

Okay, that last one was admittedly a little bit over the top and, to an extent, pseudo-cheating in my eyes but the same denominator that comes from all of these actions and moments is the same – the fan bases are insanely committed to their teams and will do anything to help them win.

Credit where it's due, Glen Osborne tried to spark a counter to the Barmy Army when they arrived for the Lions Tour with the "Tutira Mai" song and chant to back the All Blacks but even that lacked the flare and adoration we've come to see over these last few weeks.

The Team NZ helmsman is shocked by how many New Zealanders have braved the Auckland winter. Source: 1 NEWS

If I were to pick a time when Kiwis were at their best for a New Zealand team this year it would be for the America's Cup parades around the country, but that was after it was all said and done.

That energy was reserved for the celebration – not to be the extra bit of wind to get Team NZ across the line first.

People were riding on cars, playing music cheering and showing how proud they were of their team after the historic win. Source: 1 NEWS

Mate Ma'a Tonga wins their opening match of a World Cup and their fans literally bring a South Auckland suburb to a standstill – the funniest part in all of that is that the game wasn't even in Otahuhu (or New Zealand for that matter) and they were still partying like the Auld Mug was rolling down the street.

To emphasise again, I don't condone partying in the streets and all the hullabaloo that comes with it but what is undeniable is the love and devotion these fans have for their teams.

The locals got a chance to rub shoulders with the men in black overnight. Source: 1 NEWS

The All Blacks can beat a team by 20 points and we're still unimpressed.

There comes a time where as a nation we need to not be afraid to shed that humble coat we wear in the build up to and during live matches and just let our voices be heard.

The team hadn't even touched down yet and the party had already started. Source: 1 NEWS

Either that or we could be seeing more "homefield advantages" turning into seas of red, blue, green or whatever colour a lively fan wants to paint their face in – as long as it helps the team win, right?

Tonga's culture was on full display as junior and senior players showed each other the ultimate respect. Source: 1 NEWS

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



Watch: Sonny Bill joins daughters in comical Rocky Balboa inspired training video for upcoming bout

Sonny Bill Williams has called in the help of his daughters, Aisha and Imman, to promote his return to the boxing ring in December, with the star posting a hilarious Rocky Balboa inspired training video on social media today.

The cross-code star will fight Australian millionaire Stu Laundy on December 1, in a charity event to fundraise money for the homeless in New Zealand and Australia.

The 33-year-old All Black posted on his Instagram account today a video of him squatting with one daughter on his arm and another on his shoulders.

He also performs sit-ups while feeding his kids in the video.

"I'm back in the ring Dec 1st - Fighting for those who happen to be a bit down on their luck and are homeless in Aotearoa and Australia. It's an honour to be part of this special event ❤️," posted Williams.

He's in line to make his Test rugby return against the Pumas in Argentina next Sunday, after three months out following a shoulder injury against France.

The cross-code star is set to step back into the ring in December in a charity event for the homeless. Source: Instagram/ sonnybillwilliams


North and South Korea confirm joint bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a statement today that the countries planned to jointly bid for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

At a major summit, the two leaders gave no details of which cities might host certain events at the games, or how advanced the plans were.

The International Olympic Committee traditionally does not announce host cities until seven years ahead of the games. That would give the Koreas until 2025 to put together a joint bid.

Germany has already announced plans for a multi-city bid for 2032, as has Brisbane, Australia. The India Olympic Committee has also indicated its interest in hosting the 2032 Games.

A successful bid by the Koreas would mark the second time South Korea hosted or co-hosted the Summer Games, the first being 1988 in Seoul. South Korea also hosted the Pyeongchang Winter Games in February.

Asia also features in the next two Olympics — the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, which also hosted the summer version in 2008.

The joint statement today also said the Koreas would look to cooperate in major sports events such as the 2020 Games, also without elaborating.

South Korean President Moon Jae In (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un take part in a pine tree planting ceremony in the border village of Panmunjeom on April 27, 2018. (Korea Summit Press Pool) (Kyodo)
(Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In took part in an historic meeting in April. Source: Getty


Eden Park's new Our Wāhine mural showcases iconic female athletes to celebrate women’s suffrage anniversary

Auckland sports stadium Eden Park has unveiled a new mural dedicated to iconic New Zealand sportswomen as part of celebrations of the 125th anniversary since Kiwi women gained the right to vote.

The mural, which spans multiple areas of the stadium, includes Yvette Williams (track and field), Suzie Bates (cricket), Farah Palmer, Fiao'o Fa'amausili (rugby), Ruia Morrison (tennis), Dame Valerie Adams (shot put) and Lisa Carrington (kayaking).

Eden Park commissioned Kiwi artist Kate Hursthouse for the artwork.

Hursthouse says 'Our Wāhine' was a special piece for her.

"It's great to have such an iconic venue in my local neighbourhood celebrate New Zealand sportswomen, acknowledge Suffrage 125 and additionally make these seven women a permanent feature of the stadium," she said.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner said inspiration for the mural came from last month's Black Ferns Test match against the Wallaroos.

"My great grandmother signed the scroll to get women the vote," he said.

"It's important to celebrate the women who are pushing limits and breaking boundaries in both the professional and sporting worlds. Most of those featured have long affiliations with our stadium."

Dame Valerie Adams and Yvette Williams feature among the seven chosen for the piece. Source: 1 NEWS