Welcome mat out for Pacific showdown

Mackay has rolled out the red carpet in anticipation of the historic Vanuatu Rugby League versus Solomon’s Islands showdown.

The Vanuatu team – flying in from all over Australia and the Pacific – have commenced a week long training camp under new Vanuatu Head Coach David Simpson.

Mr Simpson said the excitement was building in the air “the South-Sea Island population in Mackay is giving this historic showdown an extra edge.”

“This is only Vanuatu’s second international test match and Solomon’s first – so we’re hoping for a big crowd on Saturday night in what should be a great game against the Solomon Islands.”

Mr Simpson also said the lead up had been ideal “I couldn’t be happier with how we have prepared to date. It is amazing how quickly the Vanuatu squad comes together as a team.”

“I am very confident we’ll be super competitive against a very experienced Solomon Islands side”.

Up to 11 players could make their International debut for Vanuatu on Saturday, including six of the players from local leagues in Port Vila and Santo.

Elder statesman of the team and man blong Tongoa Jason Pakoasongi was happy with the team’s preparation and reception of fans in Mackay.

“All the boys are enjoying working under new coach David Simpson and we are all hoping to be part of this historical side.”

“Let’s just say whoever makes the final squad will have really earnt it”.

Those attending the game are encouraged to pre-purchase tickets before the game through Mackay Entertainment Convention Centre by siting in person (Alfred Street, Mackay), calling on +61 7 4961 9777 or online at www.mackayecc.com.au. Tickets can also be purchased at the ground at Virgin Australia Stadium on the day from 3.00pm, with the first of three matches at 4pm with the test match set to commence at 6.30pm.

Follow the Vanuatu Rugby League Facebook page to be kept up to date with the latest team news. A big thanks to Air Vanuatu for sponsoring the international flights.