Historic Showdown set for Vanuatu blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium

From Ben Howard, Vanuatu Media

In a historic first, the Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) team will play on the famous Suncorp Stadium this Sunday (23rd February, 2014).

The 24 man strong squad will face off against the Sunshine Coast Falcons in a curtain-raiser to the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs NRL trial.

In a testament to the growing talent – and excitement – for the game in Vanuatu, the squad features 20 players that have played Test Rugby League for Vanuatu.

VRL Head Coach David Simpson commented “This is a great opportunity for the VRL to build upon our 2013 Test victories over Solomon Islands and Niue.”

“In 2014 we are only hoping to get better and better as we look to play Test Matches in 2014 and work towards the Pacific Games and World Cup qualifiers in 2015.”

Mr Simpson commended the work of the VRL High Performance Unit (HPU) established in 2013 in Vanuatu.

“12 of those players from the HPU, trained by Brett Wright, have been selected and bought over for this game.”

“Our focus is to grow the game in Vanuatu and results like this show that we are bang on the mark.”

“I’m very pleased and very proud that this squad consists of 18 players who were born or raised in Vanuatu.”

The team has been bolstered by the late additions of Kunro Kalo, Nelson Law and Joey Meninga who are all part of the Tweed Head Seagulls squad for the Queensland Cup competition.

Brothers Justin O’Neill (NRL – Melbourne Storm) and Samson O’Neill (NYC – North Queensland Cup) are not unavailable but Justin will feature for the Melbourne Storm against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs after the Vanuatu game.

Gates open at 2:30pm and the Vanuatu game begins at 2:35pm before the Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs game kicks off at 5pm. Tickets are available at the gate or can be pre-purchased through Ticketek by calling 132 849 or visiting: www.ticketek.com.au

The full squad and numbers are:

  1. Kunro Kalo
  2. Sweeney Sablan
  3. Alex Marango
  4. Nelson Law
  5. Alex Phillip
  6. Ben Henaway
  7. Josh Tanner
  8. Geoffrey Kausei
  9. Anthony Delaivuna
  10. Herbie Henderson
  11. Joey Meninga
  12. Ben Titoko
  13. Samuela Loaloadravu
  1. Rob Franklin
  2. Jason Pakoasongi
  3. Antonio Korikalo
  4. Julian Wells
  5. Dave Lolo
  6. Robbie Congoo
  7. Jean-Pierez Kenie
  8. Ben Lui
  9. Lorenzo Mahi
  10. Alfie Henderson
  11. Erick Tosusu
Daniel Andruczyk’s email: daniel@rugbyleagueinternationalscores.com
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