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Fiji's prolific tryscorer joins Bath
Saturday, July 18, 2009
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BATH Rugby are on the cusp of securing the services of Fijian fly-half Nicky Little and Exeter Chiefs loose forward Chris Cracknell on short-term deals.
Cracknell is expected to be signed on a four-month contract --- ensuring Bath have cover in the back row until Springbok Luke Watson arr-ives from Western Province in November -- while Little is likely to put pen to paper on a one-year deal.
Both players are already in Bath and, subject to medicals, are expected to fly out on Sunday with the rest of the squad for a pre-season training camp in Portugal.
Little, 32, was capped 63 times by Fiji and is already familiar with the intensity of top-flight English rugby, having played for Saracens between 2003 and 2006.
In the short-term the goal-kicking Number 10 will offer head coach Steve Meehan more options at stand-off during the 2009-10 season while Butch James continues his recovery from a knee injury.
And it is understood the Fijian could have his contract extended by a further season should the 2009-10 campaign go well.
As well as his spell with Saracens, Little has played for Sale, Canterbury, Waikato, Dax, Pontypridd and, most recently, Italian side Petrarca Padova
Draiba Fijian School has been crowned the Champions of the Suva Kaji finals after they beat Veiuto Primary in the Under 14 finals by 21-14.
In the other grades finals that were held today: the Under 9 trophy will be shared between Assemblies of God Primary and Suva Methodist Primary School after their game ended in a nil-all draw, and the two schools will keep the trophy for six months each.
Suva Primary School has taken the trophy in the Under-10 division after they beat Assemblies of God Primary by 19-7, Marist Brothers Primary beat Assemblies of God in the Under-11 by 14-7 to take the trophy home.
In the Under-12 grade Veiuto Primary School beat Dudley Intermediate School by 14-7 to be the winners and Marist Brothers Primary beat St Agnes Primary in the Under-13 by 17-14.
Samoa has split from the Pacific Islands Rugby Alliance, likely spelling an end to the Pacific Islanders team which plays tests against top rugby nations.
The Samoan Rugby Union this week informed fellow Alliance members Fiji and Tonga of its intention to withdraw, saying the merged Pacific Island team had failed to produce financial benefits sought by member unions.
"We've already advised (PIRA) of that decision by Samoa," Samoa Rugby Union chief executive Peter Schuster told the Samoa Observer newspaper. "The original concept was basically to provide an opportunity (to play) every two years.
"There were two aims, to get revenue to help in the running of the activities of the unions (and) to provide players with the opportunity to play against tier one sides.
"But the International Rugby Board (IRB) changed the schedule for the Pacific Islands team to play every four years. Every four years won't generate the revenue needed to run our rugby."
Samoa said the Pacific Islanders concept was designed to increase the profile of Pacific rugby and attract sponsorship but that would be better achieved by teams played tests individually.
The Samoan Rugby Union also this week withdrew its expression of interest in fielding a team in an expanded Super 14 tournament.
Samoa was the only Pacific nation invited by Super 14 bosses SANZAR to bid for a place in the enlarged 15-team competition but Schuster said the island nation did not have the financial resources or facilities to support a team at this stage.
"Unfortunately our stadium at Apia Park is not a full (international) rugby ground," Schuster told the Observer.
"It doesn't meet the width and length of a full international field."
Schuster said a Super competition might eventually expand to 18 or 20 teams and Samoa would re-examine participation at that time. It was also eager to discuss with Australia whether Samoan players might join a new franchise based there.
"From what I can gather it's a choice between Melbourne, Gold Coast and western Sydney," he said.
"They're not sure yet whether it will be in Melbourne but we've already indicated ... that we'd like to have a relationship with the new team."