Sports news in brief
Netball – Samoa/New Zealand
Samoan netball shooter Eseta Autagavaia has signed with New Zealand national league side Southern Steel.
She is a permanent replacement for George Fisher who suffered a season-ending rupture to her ACL and an associated fracture during a pre-season game in early February, and is awaiting surgery.
Autagavaia, who was initially contracted to the Stars as a training partner this season, is no stranger to answering an SOS call, having played with both the Stars and the Magic last year.
The 26-year-old police officer has been a regular campaigner in the National Netball League for the past five years and represented Samoa at the 2019 Netball World Cup.
Rugby – Fiji
Fiji Rugby Union have confirmed the appointment of former Flying Fijians player and mentor, Inoke Male, as the Fijiana Drua and the Fijiana fifteen’s women’s coach.
The Union said the former No.8 was picked ahead of other local and overseas coaches.
Male will be in charge for the next three years.
Union chief executive officer, Tevita Tuiloa, said Male’s initial task will be to lead the Fijiana Drua’s defence of the Super W title in Australia.
“This year we are defending the Super-W Cup. Coach Male has been there before. He was part of the journey in securing the first Super-W Cup last year. He was also part of the World Cup. So the board has full trust in him.”
Football – Champions League
Vanuatu’s Ifira Black Bird and Tahiti’s AS Pirae are the latest football teams to qualify for the Oceania Champions League being held later this year.
Ifira, which held a 3-0 lead from their first leg match against Siaraga, finished the job with a 1-0 win at the weekend.
In the Tahiti national playoff, AS Pirae thrashed AS Dragon 7-3 to follow their first-up win of 2-0.
Meanwhile, Samoa’s Lupe Ole Soaga qualified through a group competition held in Apia with a 7-1 win over Tupapa Maraerenga of the Cook Islands.
Remarkably, Lupe played play most of the game with 10 men after an early dismissal.
Englishman Jared Cuniff scored twice – Lupe’s first and last goals of the game.
Football – A-League
Vanuatu’s football captain was a the centre of controversy after he was red-carded during the Central Coast Mariners’ 1-all draw with the Wellington Phoenix in the A-league at the weekend.
The Mariners led though an early goal by James McGarry but the game was flipped on its head when Brian Kaltak was sent off early in the second-half for a challenge on striker David Ball.
Mariners players and staff were angry with the decision as Kaltak seemingly had the ball first before collecting Ball in the follow-up.
It was Kaltak’s third red card of the season.
The Mariners had another player sent off but were set for a win until the Phoenix’s Oskar Zawada equalised in injury time.
Surfing – Tahiti
French Polynesia’s surf champion has won his first world class event in Morocco at the age of 21.
Kauli Vaast won the Rip Curl Pro Search in Taghazout Bay, Morocco with a score of 16.67.