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Vanuatu will be represented by 4 players in the upcoming Pacifique Treize Under 17 tour of North Queensland, Australia, in a positive sign for young Ni-Vanuatu rugby league players.

Tyler Korikalo, Kelepi Motoutourua and Cyprian Aru are all based in Port Vila and were selected by Pacifique Treize team management following consoltation with the Vanuatu Rugby League. The 3 local based players will be joined in the squad by Travor Waro, who was born in Vanuatu but has been living in Norfolk Island. Additional to the players, David Nicolosi has been appointed as an Assistant Coach after guiding the Vanuatu women’s rugby league team to the recent South Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands.

“We are super excited for the boys to have this opportunity to join the players from New Caledonia and Wallis et Futuna in pioneering the Pacifique Treize colours in Australia. The past few years have been a little slow for opportunities like this for young players in Vanuatu, so we hope that this will be the start of some really positive steps forward and we are incredibly thankful to Dave Lolo and Rugby Academy Vanuatu for preparing the boys physically and mentally for the past month so that they can give this their best effort” Nicolosi commented.

Pacifique Treize is a rugby league entity based in Noumea that is seeking to promote and develop rugby league in the French speaking Pacific Islands nations and territories, namely New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tahiti (French Polynesia) and Wallis et Futuna. The U17 tour is the first time that the entity will travel abroad to play games and it is envisaged that their will be further opportunities over the coming years for more tours and players to be exposed to the high standards of training and playing in Australia.

Nicolosi added “Pacifique Treize has ambitions to one day play in the Queensland Statewide junior and senior competitions which are regarded as the 2nd best rugby league competitions in Australia behind the NRL. I know that there are plans in place to have Pacifique Treize development squads in Port Vila and Luganville this year, which would see more players given the opportunity to impress for future tours. The more opportunities we can create for young Ni-Vanuatu players to gain experience in the game can only be a positive for the future of Vanuatu Rugby League”.

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