Pacific showdown in Vanuatu vs Solomon Islands

From Ben Howard, Vanuatu RL

Pacific rivalry will be at its very best with the historic showdown between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in a rugby league test match in Mackay this October. The game commemorates the Australian South Sea Islander 150 Year anniversary of people or ‘blackbirds’ from Vanuatu and Solomon Islands being removed from the Islands and resettled throughout Queensland.

Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) President Tom Carlo said the game between Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, which will also be the first time the two sides have met in international completion, will further highlight the strong ties of the Island nations.

“This is a great opportunity for the Vanuatu national team to play against the Solomon Islands in Australia. The VRL visited Mackay earlier this year with the Vanuatu-South Sea Invitational tour.

“We were very impressed with the wonderful facilities that Mackay has at Virgin Australia Stadium and also the huge public support we received there.”

“It will be a game of firsts for all involved. Vanuatu will be searching for their first ever international win against the Solomon Islands team who will be playing their very first international fixture.”

“There is a lot at stake and we will have to be at our best physically and mentally”.

The game in Mackay will also feature another first with the first ever Australian South Sea Islander side playing a local Indigenous team.

Vanuatu has been boosted by the confirmation that several high profile players will be available for selection if their sides fail to make the NRL grand final (on the same weekend). The Vanuatu side will again comprise players from the local competitions in Port Vila and Santo, along with professional and semi-professional Ni-Vans that are now living in Australia and New Zealand.

Mackay is regarded as the biggest population of Australian South Sea Islanders and it is hoped that the game will attract more than 3,000 people, travelling from other centres such as Rockhampton, Proserpine, Bowen, Ayr, Townsville, Cairns, Gladstone and Bundaberg.

Corporate packages for the games and general admission tickets will be on sale in mid-August for both games.

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For sponsorship enquiries please contact Dane Campbell through vanuaturugbyleague@gmail.com

Vanuatu vs. Solomon Islands
Saturday 5th October, 2013
Virgin Australia Stadium, Mackay

Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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