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After widespread outrage Tonga PM back tracks over ban on girls' rugby

By Ian Cameron
The Australian Womens Sevens team.

Tonga have officially back-tracked on a ban on rugby for girls following widespread international and domestic outrage at the move this week.

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Tongan Prime Minister, Hon Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva, today stated that the letter from the Ministry of Education and Training to Tonga High School purporting to ban girls from participating in rugby and boxing is not Tongan Government policy.

The Hon Prime Minister said, “Sport is good for the health and the wellbeing of the people and this Government, like previous governments, actively encourages the participation of every Tongan student in all sports without discrimination”.

The Hon Prime Minister also said, “It is the Government’s responsibility to provide opportunities for all the students to participate in all sports.

“It is however for the individual students and their parents to decide whether or not they should participate in a particular sport like rugby and boxing”.

Olympic gold medalist Valerie Adams (6’4, 120kg), whose mother is Tongan was one of the strongest critics of the purported ban.

“When progress and tradition are in conflict, we must ask ourselves – what will bring our people the most benefit, and how do move forward together.

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“According to this way of thinking, a proud Tongan like myself, could not attain the standing I have in this world. Tongan women must be free to choose their destiny, and not be held back by misguided and stubborn misinterpretation. Honoring tradition, and following passion need not come into conflict. Rugby, like any sport, ought to be embraced by our tongan women – we’re good at it – don’t take it away!”

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finn 5 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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