Pacifique Treize Rugby League is an Intrust Super Cup expansion bid for a team representing the French speaking Pacific Island territories of New Caledonia, Vanuatu, French Polynesia (Tahiti) and Wallis and Futuna that will be based in Noumea, New Caledonia.
The bid was established with the primary aim of developing a professional rugby league side that will be headquartered in New Caledonia to compete in the Queensland based Intrust Super Cup competition. The Pacifique Treize bid would look to identify and develop playing talent from the French territories within the Pacific region, namely New Caledonia, French Polynesia (Tahiti) and Wallis and Futuna, along with close Melanesian neighbours Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
The Intrust Super Cup has shown a willingness to look beyond traditional boundaries, wth the inclusion and success of the Papua New Guinea Hunters since 2014. Currently a 14 team competition featuring powerhouse clubs like Redcliffe Dolphins, Easts Tigers, Burleigh Bears and Wynnum Seagulls, the Intrust Super Cup has ambitions to expand to 16 teams by 2023. Many of the Intrust Super Cup clubs have direct pathways into National Rugby League (NRL) clubs, which has seen a number of players from the Intrust Super Cup graduating to become NRL players within a few short years.
The bid’s aim is to play the majority of home games in New Caledonia, yet also play 2 matches per season in Vanuatu. There is the potential also to recruit some seasoned professional players from mainland France whilst the team is building in the formative years.
The bid will also look to work closely with the Australian South Sea Island (ASSI) communities in Queensland which would create a unique opportunity for the team to be well supported at away games. ASSI communities share historical and cultural links to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands and have significant populations in a number of Intrust Super Cup team locations, namely Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, Cairns, Sunshine Coast and Tweed Heads.
As New Caledonia is only a short 2 hour flight (and Vanuatu 2.5 hours) from Brisbane, the opportunities to present world class rugby league to these new and growing rugby league markets is incredibly exciting.