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French team eyes rugby league talents from Solomon Islands in its bid for Queensland Cup

BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II

SOLOMON Islands Rugby League (SIRL) players are in the scope to join Pacifique Treize, a French team in a bid to compete at the Intrust Super Cup (Queensland Cup).

With the growing popularity of rugby league in the Pacific region, Solomon Islands is among Vanuatu and New Caledonia players that may eventually get the chance to play at the elite competition.

Pacifique Treize has identified Solomon Islands as a key development market of talents, a host destination for the development and creating opportunities in the rugby code.

“We look forward to working with the Solomon Island Rugby League and the broader Solomon Islands community as we develop this bid. Creating opportunities for players to aspire to become professional rugby league players with Pacifique Treize is our goal, but through creating high performance programs will also assist the Solomon Islands national rugby league team into the future,” Communications Director Laurent Garnier commented.

It will be a breaking wave for the sport in the country as the intention is that Pacifique Treize will establish a Centre de Formation (Academy) in Honiara to further develop young rugby league players that may eventually get the chance to play for the Pacifique Treize Intrust Super Cup should the bid be successful.

Pacifique Treize literally means Pacific 13 in French reference to the territory and the number of players in a rugby league team.

The bid seeks to establish a close relationship with the Solomon Islands Rugby League, given the geographical, historical and cultural ties between New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands the official released statement added.

“Solomon Islands represents a very important part of the Pacifique Treize ambitions, with Solomon Islands to be seen as a key development market for playing talent and also a host destination for junior touring teams into the future,” Garnier commented

Pacifique Treize has taken inspiration from the success of PNG Hunters who have participated in the Intrust Super Cup since 2014 and also the rise of the Toronto Wolfpack from a non-rugby league city in Canada to the European Super League in a very short space of time. The bid will be keeping a close eye on the progression of the Kaiviti Silktails from Fiji, who embarks on their own similar journey of playing in Australia from 2020 onwards.

A six-member steering committee, which has representation in New Caledonia and Australia and comprises French, Australian and Vanuatu nationalities, has been working for the past 12 months researching the feasibility of this bold bid.

A six-member steering committee, which has representation in New Caledonia and Australia and comprises French, Australian and Vanuatu nationalities, has been working for the past 12 months researching the feasibility of this bold bid.

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