Minister of Sport says islands-based Super Rugby team would be 'embraced by Pasifika community'

Grant Robertson says he would welcome the addition of a Pacific team to enter the Super Rugby competition, as the early stages of team development commence. 

It comes after the New Zealand government and New Zealand Rugby funded an $80,000 feasibility study for a Pacific Islands team.

When asked how committed he was to a Pacific rugby team, Mr Robertson said it was a matter for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

However he said "speaking as the Minister for Sport and Recreation, I would certainly welcome a Pacific Rugby team in the Super competition". 

"I think it would add a huge amount to it, and clearly it would be something that would be embraced by Pasifika community both in the Pacific itself and here."

Nichol said there will be a lot of work needed to be done for a Pacific team to enter the competition. Source: 1 NEWS

Mr Robertson was asked if it could pull players from some of the New Zealand Super Rugby teams, to which he answered, "well, that would be interesting, wouldn't it?"

"But I think there's a huge depth of talent in New Zealand rugby and in the Pacific that could certainly cope with a team... and I think it would be a real welcome addition to Super Rugby."

He said the decision was made that MFAT would help with the early stages of the team establishment, but in terms of tax payer funding, Mr Robertson said "Super Rugby franchises, they're usually developed by rugby unions and by the private sector".

"I'd imagine that model would be what would continue."

It comes after the government and NZ Rugby funded an $80,000 feasibility study. Source: 1 NEWS


Dane Coles prepares for long-awaited return to action - ‘He'll bring some fire and niggle off the bench’

It's been almost a year since he was last seen on the rugby field, but Dane Coles is finally set to make his long-awaited return from injury.

The 56-time capped All Black hooker hasn't played since last November, but will come off the bench in Wellington's crucial Mitre 10 Cup clash against Taranaki tomorrow night.

The plan is for him to have 20 minutes off the bench in the final round robin game of the season.

It's been close to a year since Coles injured his knee against France.

"Having played with him for a few years, it's really encouraging and I'm really pumped to have him back in the team," said fellow front row forward Jeff Toomaga-Allen.

"And I know he'll bring some fire and niggle off the bench." 

The All Blacks hooker will turn out for Wellington tomorrow, having not played since last November. Source: 1 NEWS



Watch: Mate Ma’a Tonga stars slap Mick Potter with jandals in hilarious initiation ritual

New Mate Ma'a Tonga assistant coach Mick Potter got a rude introduction to his new side's team culture, being slapped with jandals by the team by way of initiation.

Potter, who previously coached Fiji Bati to a stunning World Cup victory over the Kiwis at last year's World Cup, joined Kristian Woolf's coaching set-up recently.

As the team trained in Hamilton, he was given a warm welcome, despite appearances to the contrary.

The Tongans take on Australia in Auckland next weekend. 

Team spirit in the Tongan camp is sky high, as the team welcomes their new assistant coach into the fold. Source: 1 NEWS


1 NEWS political team discuss what happens for Simon Bridges, once leak investigation is finally released

The 1 NEWS team discuss the potential aftermath for leader Simon Bridges once the investigation into the National Party leaker is released.

It comes after the Opposition leader launched an investigation to look into who leaked Mr Bridges' expenses. 

Mr Bridges' MP expenses were released earlier than scheduled last week, with $113,973 spent on travel and accommodation between April and June.

Yesterday, an independent review found no evidence that staff in the office of Parliament's speaker, Speaker Trevor Mallard, or Parliamentary Service finance and corporate staff released details. 

Read: Jessica Mutch McKay's analysis on the Simon Bridges leak. 

A weekly catch up with 1 NEWS’ political reporters about the stories they’ve been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

The 1 NEWS team discuss the potential aftermath for leader Simon Bridges once the investigation into the National Party leaker is released. Source: 1 NEWS

Watch as junior Tongan league players welcome Mate Ma’a Tonga stars with rousing sipi tau

Junior Tongan league players gave the Mate Ma’a Tonga stars a rousing welcome, clearly delighting the island kingdom's national team as they arrived in Auckland.

The Tongan Hakula players performed an earth-shattering sipi tau for their heroes as they arrived in Manukau last night ahead of next week's clash with the Kangaroos in Auckland.

The Mate Ma’a Tonga players' phone cameras were held high to capture the special moment as the young players gave the Tongan haka their all.

Mate Ma’a Tonga meet Australia in an historic Test at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday next week. 

More vision from Mate Ma'a Tonga's arrival in Auckland yesterday

Tevita Pangai made sure team spirit was high as Tonga arrived in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS

Hurell and teammate Jason Taumalolo joined fans dancing during their welcome at Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

Despite their flight being delayed a few hours from Sydney the Tongan fans showed their support at Vodafone Events centre in Manukau. Source: 1 NEWS

Auckland welcome The Tongan Hakula players delivered an earth-shattering sipi tau for their heroes in Auckland yesterday. Source: 1 NEWS