Pacifique Treize, the Noumea based rugby league team which aims to provide opportunities to players from the French speaking territories in the Pacific, namely New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna and French Polynesia, are set to undertake a historic five ever tour of Australia.

Twenty-five players have been selected for an Under 17s tour of North Queensland starting in late January, where the team will play games three games in total against Mackay Cutters, Townsville Blackhawks and Northern Pride. The games will signify the first time the Pacifique Treize colours will be worn in official games, following the establishment of the entity back at the start of 2020. Players from New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Futuna will link up with Australian based players of French ancestry, along with several players from mainland France.

Pacifique Treize Director Manuel Jalabert commented “We are very happy to be able to conduct our first tour to Australia. We were severely impacted in our development and ambitions by Covid and there were times that we considered whether something like this would be possible. However despite the challenges, we are now ready to hoist the colours for the very first time and represent the French speaking Pacific territories and bring a new audience to rugby league in Queensland and Australia”.

“Our long-term ambition is to replicate what the PNG Hunters have done by being a Pacific based entity playing in the Hostplus Cup in Queensland. We hope that by undertaking this tour at U17s level that we can showcase the athletic talent we have in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Wallis et Futuna, so that over the coming years we may be able to enter into the Queensland Statewide junior competitions (Mal Meninga and Cyril Connell Cups). We are also excited to be able to have some players from mainland France who will travel across to add valuable playing experience to the group”.

Game times and venues for the Pacifique Treize U17 tour of North Queensland:

• Saturday 3rd February vs Mackay Cutters at Tiger Park, Mackay – 4:00pm AEST kick off.

• Tuesday 6th February vs Townsville Blackhawks @ Jack Manski Oval, Townsville – 6:00pm kick off.

• Friday 9th February vs Northern Pride @ Venue TBC, Cairns – 5:30pm kick off.