Vanuatu Rugby League rallies behind star player as he fights cancer

Vanuatu Rugby League star Jason Pakoasongi – maintaining a brave face. Photo: VRL

Vanuatu Rugby League player Jason Pakoasongi – maintaining a brave face. Photo: VRL

The Pacific Advisory Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) is saddened to hear of the recent illness to star player Jason Pakoasongi, who is battling cancer. The VRL is supporting Jason and his family in a number of different ways throughout his battle.

VRL President Tom Carlo conveyed thoughts on behalf of the VRL: “We are passing on our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery to Jason and his family during this very difficult time. 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.”

Jason a lawyer with the State Law Office is the elder statesman of the VRL, having played in the first ever Vanuatu Rugby League team, competing at the International 9’s in Sydney in 2012. Jason went on to make his Test debut in Vanuatu’s first ever test match against Greece in 2012, scoring a try in front of his home crowd in Port Vila. Jason is the Vanuatu record holder, being the only player to play in all five of Vanuatu’s test matches. He is also the record try scorer with three test tries in addition to also captaining the South-Sea Islander Vanuatu Invitational tour throughout Queensland in 2013.

VRL Coach Lionel Harbin added “We’ll be retiring Jason’s number 3 jersey for our upcoming test match versus Solomon Islands in Honiara on the 21st of October. Jason would have been one of the first players selected and would have been lining up in the jersey had he been fit. 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.”

The VRL will be inviting Jason to attend the game in the Solomon Islands should he be able to travel. Jason recently attended the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation Coaching course in Sydney and has been earmarked as a future coach, whenever his remarkable playing career finishes.