Seven countries, namely Australia Cook Islands Fiji New Zealand, Papua New Guinea Samoa and Tonga will field their flagship team. The first matches will take place in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea this year, between October and November.
Geography makes us neighbors, but through sport we build. Strong and lasting bonds across the Pacific family said Albanese.
Albanese noted that the Pacific Islands Forum’s regional leaders meeting in Fiji last year coincided with a rugby league game between New South Wales and the state of Queensland. This match was witnessed by the leaders of the Pacific countries wearing their respective team jerseys. About half of the players in Australia’s National Rugby League competition are of Pasifika descent.
The Minister of International and Pacific Development, Pat Conroy emphasiz that rugby diplomacy in the Pacific was Australia’s superior move compar to China. Conroy said the Australian Government had fund the Papua
New Guinea rugby team in the Queensland state rugby competition
and the Fiji team in the New South Wales state competition. Albanese said the Pacific Championships would feature women’s rugby league. The success of women’s rugby athlete Matildas Mary Fowler has shown that women’s sports leagues can inspire countries. Fowler is an athlete of Papua New Guinea descent. He will play in the World Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday. He has become an idol throughout the Pacific.