New Squad and Coach announced in lead up to Solomon Islands Showdown

From Ben Howard

The Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) has announced the playing squad for the upcoming international with the Solomon Islands in Mackay, Australia to be held at Virgin Australia Stadium on Saturday 5th October.

The squad features a number of players that represented Vanuatu last October against Greece, yet also a number of new faces who are eager to showcase their ability. Returning players include Alehana Mara, Javarn White, Jason Pakoasongi, Samuela Loaloadravu, Emosi Ugavule, Joe Meninga, Josh Tanner, Ben Titoko and Kalpat Steedman.

Also included to return to the national team is Robbie Congoo, who last wore national colours in the Cabramatta 9s in Sydney in February 2012. The local competitions are also well represented, with 5 players from Port Vila and 1 from Santo included in the 19 member squad. 12 of the 19 members of the squad were either born and or raised in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu will also have a new coach for 2013, with inaugural coach Dane Campbell stepping aside to allow David Simpson to guide the young national team. Campbell will assume a behind the scenes role with VRL.

David Simpson said he was excited to succeed Campbell in the coaching role.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for me personally and for the Vanuatu national team.”

“Not only do we have the opportunity to showcase our skills to the general public in Mackay, where there is a large South Sea population, but also to return to Port Vila to take on Niue on Saturday 12th October.”

The 19 member squad will go into camp in Mackay on Tuesday 1st October and will then be trimmed to a match day 17 on the Friday prior to the game.

The game in Mackay is being promoted as a commemoration of the Black Birding period some 150 years ago.

The full squad for the international against Solomon Islands on Saturday 5th October at Virgin Australia Stadium is:

Javarn White Ipswich Jets
Sweenie Sablan Ifira Blackbirds
Alex Marango Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles
Jason Pakoasongi Aelan Warriors
Alex Phillip King Roosters (Port Vila)
Josh Tanner Wests Bundaberg
Ryder Franklin Noosa Pirates
Ben Titoko Perth
Samuela Loaloadravu Yenda Blueheelers
Emosi Ugavule Auckland
Joe Meninga Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles
Alehana Mara NZ Warriors
Sam Pierce Central Capras
Robbie Congoo Gladstone Brothers
Kalpat Steedman Aelan Warriors
Tonny Lui King Roosters (Port Vila)
Jean-Pierrez Kenie Santo Boars
Geoffrey Kausei Honiara
Erick Tosusu Logan


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