Monday 23 May 2022 | 23:44 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 May 2022 | 23:44 | SYDNEY

Sport and supra-nationalism


Sam Roggeveen


8 September 2011 15:13

Many thanks to those who emailed in response to my query about Pacific rugby, though they don't quite address the mystery at the heart of my post.

I've now learnt that there has been an attempt to field a supra-national Pacific rugby team, but this may not even be a permanent team, and it clearly hasn't superseded the country-based structure of Pacific international rugby.

Unlike the West Indies cricket team, which represents a group of sovereign Caribbean states and some dependencies but which competes as a single team in test series and World Cups, Pacific countries still field individual teams. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are all competing at the upcoming World Cup. So why haven't/can't the Pacific countries do what the 15 English-speaking Caribbean countries and dependencies which make up the West Indies did?

For a taste of what the broader implications of such team might be, it's worth taking a look at a new documentary called Fire in Babylon (trailer here), about the great West Indian cricket teams of the 1970s and 80s. This is really a political film disguised as a sports documentary, arguing that West Indian cricketers gave hope to a people who were beset by feckless local politicians and who were made to feel second-rate by their colonial history and through English and Australian racism.

It's worth noting, though, that the film-makers may have oversold the political subtext. The great Viv Richards clearly became somewhat radicalised during this period, but as Joel Garner notes (1.46), politics wasn't a prominent part of the team's make-up.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.