13 Oct 2017

Sport: Vanuatu Rugby League rallies behind star

2:45 pm on 13 October 2017

Vanuatu Rugby League intends to show its support for star player Jason Pakoasongi, who is battling cancer.

The lawyer is the elder statesman of the team, having played in the first ever Vanuatu rugby league team at the International 9's in Sydney in 2012.

He made his Test debut in Vanuatu's first 13-a-side international against Greece later that year and is the only player to feature in all five of Vanuatu's test matches.

Vanuatu rugby league player Jason Pakoasongi.

Vanuatu rugby league player Jason Pakoasongi. Photo: Supplied

He is also the country's record test try-scorer and captained the South-Sea Islander Vanuatu Invitational team in 2013.

"We are passing on our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to Jason and his family during this very difficult time," said VRL President Tom Carlo.

"While many people see Jason the star football we see Jason the loving husband and father as well as being a mentor and role model to all our young players in Vanuatu. We will throw our full support towards his recovery."

Vanuatu head coach Lionel Harbin said they will be retiring Pakoasongi's number 3 jersey for next weekend's test match against Solomon Islands in Honiara.

"Jason would have been one of the first players selected and would have been lining up in the jersey had he been fit," he said.

"We have no doubt Jason will again be taking his rightful place in his number 3 jersey in the Emerging Nations World Championships in Sydney in 2018 so we are going to refrain from using it for this particular match."

Lionel Harbin added the VRL will be inviting Jason to attend the game in the Solomon Islands, if he is able to travel.