Vanuatu national rugby league captain James Wood has thrown his support behind the Pacifique Treize rugby league bid, declaring it a great initiative and one that will open pathways for players from Vanuatu.
Pacifique Treize, who made their bid public last week, are aiming to enter the 2nd tier rugby league competition in Australia, the Intrust Super Cup by 2023. The Noumea, New Caledonia based bid has been buoyed by the support of the Vanuatu Rugby League and aims to play 2 games per year in Vanuatu if they are successful in gaining admission to the Intrust Super Cup.
Malo man Wood who played 242 games, scoring 107 tries and captaining Tweed Heads in the Intrust Super Cup stated, “It’s been a great privilege to represent Vanuatu Rugby League both as a player and an active committee member across our 9 years in existence as a Rugby League organisation.
“In our short history we have had a great deal of success but really struggled to maintain consistency with our playing groups and staff due to the lack of resources and opportunities available to us. We have worked really hard to base players in Queensland to continue to develop their skills but visa restrictions, language and cultural differences complicates this process.
“To potentially have a team based in Noumea that has strong ties with Vanuatu is extremely exciting.
“I believe it will streamline the opportunities for players to compete at the second highest level possible while maintaining a very similar lifestyle living in Noumea.
“The opportunity to host home games would also be fantastic for developing and promoting the game in Vanuatu and I believe it would be the single most elite game or competition to be hosted in Vanuatu which will serve as another great opportunity for all involved.
“I’m looking forward to the development of the Pacifique Treize Bid and can see how popular this would be throughout the region and through the South Sea Islander community in Australia,” Wood said.
Over the coming weeks the Vanuatu Rugby League Board and Pacifique Treize bid will look to enter into a formal partnership to solidify development pathways for young players in Vanuatu.