Author Archives: Vanuaturl

Victory for Vanuatu over Niue newcomers

Vanuatu has recorded a historic Test victory with a hard fought win over test debutants Niue (22 – 20).

Held in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila it came a week after Vanuatu’s first ever Test victory over the Solomon Islands.

The Ni’Vanuatu squad is excited by what this means for the game in Vanuatu and the Pacific.

Vanuatu Captain Samuela Loaloadravu said the team’s performance was outstanding.

“We had to come from behind again and it showed great character from the entire group. We were in the same position against Greece last year and this time we managed to clinch it.”

“To win in front of our home crowd – I couldn’t be happier”.

New Coach David Simpson, coaching his first game on Ni’Vanuatu soil, said it was a challenging game.

“We had to dig to get the win.

“Niue was a very good team comprising of players from high level competitions at NSW Cup, Ron Massey Cup, Holden Cup, ITM Rugby and even the English Super League”.

“To beat a team of that calibre with 11 of our players from the local competitions here in Vanuatu is a true testament to the talent and improvement of our squad over the last 12 months”.

“The atmosphere was electric and I don’t doubt this means very good things for the future of Rugby League in Vanuatu.”

Vanuatu and Niue are both now planning for further fixtures in 2014 in the lead up to the Pacific Games in 2015 and aiming to qualify for the 2017 World Cup.

 (followed by Game Stats/ Summary)

Vanuatu 22 (Geoffery Kausei, Joey Meninga, Sam Pierce, Jason Pakoasongi and  Joshua Tanner Tries, Joshua Tanner 1/3 and Kunro Kalo 0/2 Goals)


Niue 20 (Chris Ulukita – 2, Kodezz Simeki and Jordan Tongahai Tries. Alex Seini-Edward 2/4 Goals)

Venue: Municipal Stadium , Port Vila (Vanuatu)

Crowd: 3,022

Referee: Peter Gough

Man of Match: Geoffery Kausei

By the Clock:

11th Minute: Try Vanuatu (No.16 – Geoffery Kausei). Goal Vanuatu (No.7 – Joshua Tanner)

Vanuatu 6 – Niue 0

15th Minute: Try Vanuatu (No.11 – Joey Meninga)

Vanuatu 10 – Niue 0

35th Minute: Try Niue (No.5 – Chris Ulukita)

Vanuatu 10 – Niue 4

38th Minute: Try Niue (No.3 – Kodezz Simeki). Goal Niue (No.7 – Alex Seini-Edward)

Vanuatu 10 – Niue 10

Half-time: Vanuatu 10 – Niue 10

45th Minute: Try Niue (No.5 – Chris Ulukita). Goal Niue (No.7 – Alex Seini-Edward)

Niue 16 – Vanuatu 10

52nd Minute: Try Vanuatu (No.8 – Sam Pierce)

Niue 16 – Vanuatu 14

67th Minute: Try Niue (No.6 – Jordan Tongahai)

Niue 20 – Vanuatu 14

73rd Minute: Try Vanuatu (No.3 – Jason Pakoasong)

Niue 20 – Vanuatu 18

78th Minute: Try Vanuatu (No.7 – Joshua Tanner)

Vanuatu 22 – Niue 20

Full-time: Vanuatu 22 – Niue 20



1. Alex Marango

2. Alex Phillip

3. Jason Pakoasongi

4. Nelson Law

5. Sweeney Sablan

6. Rob Franklin

7. Joshua Tanner

8. Sam Pierce

9. Kunro Kalo

10. Kalpat Steedman

11. Joey Meninga

12. Ben Titoko

13. Samuela Loaloadravu

14. Julian Wells

15. Tonny Lui

16. Geoffrey Kausei

17. Jean-Pierez Kenie

18. Ben Lui

Coach: David Simpson



1. Zebb Luisi

2. Zayde Alvarado

3. Kodezz Simeki

4. Tooks Jackson

5. Chris Ulukita

6. Jordan Tongahai

7. Alex Seini-Edward

8. Steve Watkinson

9. Tamati Ulukita

10. Tonga Kose

11. Leonale Bourke

12. Bradley Watkinson

13. Mike Filimona

14. Benji Foliola

15. Dave Alo

16. Kody Faletaupule

17. Evander Jackson

18. Joe Fakalogotoa

Coach: Brendan Perenara


Vanuatu started where they left off against the Solomon Islands opening the scoring in the 11th minute when talented 20 year Kunro Kalo playing his first ever game of hooker jumped out of dummy half and draw in several defenders before giving a perfectly timed pass to rampaging interchange forward and eventual man of the match Geoffery Kausei who crashed through several defenders to score under the posts. Following his 24 point haul against the Solomon Islands newly elected vice-captain and halfback Joshua Tanner added the extras to lead 6-0.

Vanuatu extended their lead 5 minutes later when young five-eight Rob Franklin used his speed and footwork to get outside his opponent and deliver the perfect pass to Joey Meninga, Mal Meninga’s nephew, who ran into a hole and past the fullback to score out wide. Following his perfect record with the boot the week before where he kicked 8/8, Joshua Tanner narrowly missed the conversion and Vanuatu led 10-0.

Vanuatu missed several other opportunities to score during this period and ill-discipline gifted a very big and physical Niue team good field position and started to work themselves back into the contest. After gallant online scrambling defence the Vanuatu line finally cracked in the 35th minute when winger Chris Ulukita scored in the left hand corner.

Gaining confidence Niue scored 3 minutes later through centre Kodezz Simeki and with the successful conversion from halfback Alex Seini-Edward, scores were level 10 all at half-time.

Niue continued their charge after the break and scored after only five minutes with winger Chris Ulukita scoring his second try and Alex Seini-Edward adding the extras to give Niue their first lead of the game by 16-10.

Central Capras prop Sam Pierce got Vanuatu back into the contest crashing over next to the posts after more clever work from Kunro Kalo. Kalo was returning to Rugby League after training with the North Queensland Cowboys National Youth Competition squad over the off-season and a successful stint with Townsville Brothers before taking up a professional contract playing Rugby 7’s in Fiji. Joshua Tanner’s conversion bounced off the upright and left Vanuatu trailing by 16 – 14.

Niue took back the advantage in the 67th minute when a dropped intercept by Vanuatu centre Nelson Law which would have seen him race 60 metres to score resulted in Niue picking up the loose ball and scoring out wide through five-eight Jordan Tongahai. The conversion was unsuccessful and Niue led 20-14 with 10 minutes to play.

With a never say die attitude Vanuatu threw everything at the Niue defence and were rewarded in the 73rd minute when a slick backline movement was finished off in the corner by centre Jason Pakoasongi. The try meant Pakoasongi, a 35 year old laywer in Vanuatu has scored in all of Vanuatu’s three Test Matches. Tanner handed over the kicking reigns to Kunro Kalo who had now moved to fullback to allow 18 year old school student and bench utility Julian Wells to come onto the field to make his Test debut. The conversion was unsuccessful and with time running out Vanuatu trailed 20-18.

Niue missed an opportunity to win the game when a midfield break with several players in support but with Vanuatu players emerged from everywhere to force a mistake on the tryline before marching 100 metres up field where Niue finally cracked in the 78th minute when halfback Joshua Tanner reached out to score. It was later revealed Tanner had played on despite tearing his quadriceps during the game. Kalo missed the conversion and Vanuatu appeared to have the game locked up 22-20.

Niue were given one final opportunity and looked set to score after a kick and regather but Vanuatu scrambled well to shut down the first of a number of opportunities Niue had to win the game. Vanuatu finally secured victory when back rower Ben Titoko took an intercept with only seconds remaining and gave Vanuatu their first ever Test victory on home soil.

Mile high club 32nd Test Player named for Niue clash in mid air

An exciting mix of new faces and old will feature in the Vanuatu Rugby League test match this Saturday (12th October) against Niue.

Air Vanuatu host Ben Lui and Malopoa College student Julian Wells have both been named to make their Vanuatu Rugby League Test Match debuts against Niue this Saturday 12thOctober at Municipal Stadium (Stade). Lui will join his brother Tonny who debuted against the Solomon Islands last Saturday (5th October).

Coach David Simpson was optimistic about the Ni’Vanuatu squad that features 14 players who were born and or grew up in Vanuatu and 11 players from the local domestic competitions in Port Vila and Santo.

“Niue will be a very difficult team to beat but I’m confident we can play our best football to win.”

“With a loud and vocal crowd behind us the boys can continue their winning streak from last week.”

“It is terrific to see both Ben and Julian who will make their debuts, who are the historic 31st and 32nd VRL test match players.”

Debutant Ben Lui is excited at the prospect about making his Test debut.

“I couldn’t be happier.”

“To make our debut in front of our home crowd – with Julian as well – with all our friends and family will be a very special moment. Having my brother Tonny also in the side will make it a very proud moment for the Lui family”.

“It was a really good moment finding out I had been selected – I was working on the Brisbane-Vila flight when Coach told me the good news.”

A big crowd is expected to watch Vanuatu in its second test match in Vanuatu and Niue will be making their Test match debut. Niue who arrived on Thursday and has assembled a strong 18 man squad.

Tickets will be available for sale at the Post Office and Melanesian Hotel in the lead up to the game as well as at the ground on game day. Vanuatu vs Niue will kick-off at 3:30pm with Port Vila vs Santo Boars starting from 2pm. Prices are:

Grandstand: 3,000 Vatu

General Admission (Adults): 1,000 Vatu

General Admission (U/16’s): 300 Vatu

General Admission (U/12’s): 100 Vatu

The full team for Saturdays international against Niue is: 

1. Alex Marango

2. Alex Phillip

3. Jason Pakoasongi

4. Nelson Law

5. Sweeney Sablan

6. Rob Franklin

7. Joshua Tanner

8. Sam Pierce

9. Kunro Kalo

10. Kalpat Steedman

11. Joey Meninga

12. Ben Titoko

13. Samuela Loaloadravu

14. Julian Wells

15. Tonny Lui

16. Geoffrey Kausei

17. Jean-Pierez Kenie

18. Ben Lui

Coach: David Simpson

Titans Visit Ifira

For a second year running the Vanuatu national rugby league team has visited the Island of Ifira, situated a short 5 minute boat ride from Port Vila harbour.

Members of the national team were joined by Gold Coast Titans Player and Community Development Manager Matthew Francis, who is accompanying the Vanuatu team in the preparation for this Saturday’s big international clash against Niue at Municipal Stadium in Port Vila (Stade) in Vanuatu. Francis, who has had a long involvement with the National Rugby League, was a part of the driving force for the highly successful Indigenous All Stars game in Australia.

The visit to Ifira saw Francis and national squad members Kunro Kalo, Sweeny Sablan, Lester Kalpukai, Julian Wells, Antonio Korikalo and Patrick August join Francis to meet with local school students, where Francis had a number of Titans hats for the excited youngsters.

Francis commented “It was great to visit one of the local villages and be welcomed by the kids and local people. There were many talented players on display and it would be great to think that one day we may see some of these players have the opportunity to play for Vanuatu and also in Australia”.

Vanuatu squad announced for Niue clash

Following on from Vanuatu’s first ever Rugby League Test Match victory over Solomon Islands in Mackay last Saturday, Vanuatu have named a largely unchanged line-up for the clash this Saturday 12th October at Municipal Stadium (Stade).

The Vanuatu squad left Australia on Tuesday following their 48-30 win over the Solomon Islands. The squad was split into two with half the squad going directly back to Port Vila and the remainder of the squad travelling to Santo to assist the Santo Boars fundraising efforts to play in the curtain-raiser against Port Vila.

Four players from the victorious team are unavailable in Anthony Delaivuna, Robbie Congoo, Erick Tosusu and Javarn White. New players coming into the squad are Kunro Kalo, Nelson Law, Ben Lui, Julian Wells, Lester Kalpukai and Antonio Korikalo. The final 18 man squad will be selected on Saturday.

Captain Samuel Loloadravu was excited about this weekend’s contest “Following on from our victory last week we’re really looking forward to putting in another good performance against what will be a very strong and hungry Niue team”.

Coach David Simpson has been impressed with the squad assembled for the game “It is great to see a number of highly talented local players joining the squad and pushing for selection in the final 18 man squad”.

Niue arrive from Sydney on Thursday and will be playing in their inaugural Test Match, while Vanuatu will be playing only their 3rd and 2nd on home soil.

Tickets will be available for sale at the Post Office and Melanesian Hotel. Prices are:

Grandstand: 3,000 Vatu

General Admission (Adults): 1,000 Vatu

General Admission (U/16’s): 300 Vatu

General Admission (U/12’s): 100 Vatu

Vanuatu Squad:

Alex Marango

Alex Phillips

Antonio Korikalo

Ben Titoko

Ben Lui

Geoffry Kausei

Jason Pakaosongi

Jean-Pierez Kenie

Joey Meninga

Josh Tanner

Julian Wells

Kalpat Steadman

Kunro Kalo

Lester Kalpubai

Nelson Law

Robert Franklin

Sam Pierce

Samuel Loaloadravu

Sweeney Sablan

Tonny Lui

Vanuatu victors in historic battle of Black Bird descendants

Vanuatu claimed a historic victory against Pacific neighbour Solomon Islands (48 to 30) in their first ever test match in Mackay on Saturday (5 October).

The game, played in front of a vocal crowd of 1,648, commemorated the 150th anniversary of south-Sea islanders or ‘Black Birds’ brought to Australia to work in the cane fields.

Born and bred Ni’Vanuatu, Captain Samuela Loaloadravu, said the feeling of victory was awesome.

“Words can’t describe how much this win means to me. It’s been a two year journey to get this first win and to captain this group of men is just an honour”.

“It was an amazing display as we had 11 debutants, with 8 players came from the local competitions in Port Vila and Santo.”

“And it was a real honour for us all to have Ni’Vanuatu NRL star outside back Justin O’Neill presenting the Vanuatu side with their jerseys and also acting as a trainer for the side.”

New coach David Simpson was equally impressed “I couldn’t be prouder of the team. They worked really hard for this, in the lead up and in the game”.

“Solomon Islands are a very good team with some fantastic players. At times it looked as though they might run away with the game but Vanuatu stuck to the plan and got themselves back in it.”

But the winning streak isn’t over for this Pacific powerhouse, says Mr Simpson.

“I can’t wait to head over to Vanuatu this week and look to get a victory in front of our home crowd in Port Vila against another Pacific brother Niue on Saturday” (12 October).

The Vanuatu team fly out from Australia on Tuesday with the Port Vila based players heading directly to Port Vila. The rest of the squad led by local  Jean-Pierez Kenie head to Santo to conduct a range of promotional activities before camp kicks off in Port Vila on Wednesday.

Tickets to the game will be on sale throughout the week and make sure to check out Vanuatu Rugby League’s Facebook page and website for the latest information in the lead up to the Niue game.

Game Summary:

Solomon Islands playing in its first test match started strongly and dominated the opening 10 minutes with all the ball and field position. Some valiant Vanuatu defence kept the Solomon Islands at bay until after a number of back to back sets, but Solomon Islands winger Vernon Stewart opened the scoring in the 11th minute finishing off a crisp backline movement to lead 4-0.

With an even share of possession the Vanuatu side scored with their first set of six inside the oppositions half the field after a great rolling set from Vanuatu’s big men set up a quick play the ball and classy fullback Javarn White scored with a quick dart from dummy-half from 15 metres out in the 18th minute. The conversion was successful by Joshua Tanner to put Vanuatu into the lead 6-4.

Solomon Islands hooker Jesse Tass who had been dangerous all game put Solomon Islands back in the lead with an individual effort to score from dummy-half in the 23rd minute. Conversion from centre Harley Bickey was successful to give Solomon Islands a 10-6 lead.

Vanuatu regained the lead in the 32nd minute after a break by Mal Meninga’s nephew Joey Meninga which saw him surge 50 metres downfield before being stopped in a great one on one tackle by Brydon Sutton. Coming off the bench Robbie Congoo scored from close range a few tackles later. With the successful conversion by Joshua Tanner Vanuatu had a slender 12 – 10 lead.

In the 35th minute a great ball by halfback Joshua Tanner saw fullback Javarn White surge into a hole before drawing the fullback to an unmarked Joshua Tanner backing up on the inside to score under the posts and with the successful conversion of his own try Vanuatu led 18 – 10 just before half-time.

Despite all the momentum an error in their own half gifted Solomon islands good field position and hooker Jesse Tass took full advantage crossing for his second try in the 38th minute and with the conversion from Harley Bickley, Solomon islands narrowed the gap to trail by on 16 to 18 at half-time.

It was all Solomon Islands in the second half with a converted try to captain Jardine Bobongie in the 43rd minute and a try to centre Zac Williams in the 55th minute as Solomon Islands surged to a 26 – 18 lead. Coming off the bench utility back Robbie Congoo scored his second try in the 60th minute as his creative play from dummy-half caused headaches for the Solomon Islands defence. Joshua Tanner added the extras to leave Vanuatu trailing by 2 heading into the last 20 minutes of the game.

Javarn White and Joshua Tanner both crossed for their second tries in the 65th and 67th minutes and with Joshua Tanner keeping his perfect goal kicking alive saw Vanuatu fly out to a 36-26 lead. Just when it looked like Vanuatu was running away with the game, Solomon Islands showed great fight to get back to 36-30 with a fantastic team try to centre Harley Bickey.

Man of the match Robbie Congoo put the game beyond doubt with his third try in the 76th minute, making a break from 40 metres out before beating the fullback. The celebrations started early as centre Jason Pakoasongi a lawyer from Vanuatu did what he did against Greece 12 months earlier and scored a try in the last play of the game. Joshua Tanner kicked his 8th goal from 8 attempts from the sideline to give him a personal haul of 24 points.