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Pacific Island Team Set To Rock Rugby League World

Thu, September 02, 2004

Pacific Island Team Set To Rock Rugby League World

The Pacific Island Rugby League Association (PIRLA) is positioning to become a powerhouse of international rugby league with a plan to create a united Pacific Islands team.

Polynesian players already make a powerful contribution to world rugby league but PIRLA aims to bring its players together under a Pacific Islands banner.

President of PIRLA Neville Kesha says they have previously focused on developing Pacific Islands rugby league by hosting tournaments such the Pacific Cup. But now they are moving to the next step of promoting and developing senior, elite teams that can compete on the world stage."

The PIRLA team, an elite, under 20 age group development squad will travel to Sydney in February to play three games against top NRL age group teams; the Canterbury Bulldogs, Sydney Roosters, and the Penrith Panthers.

Team coach, Dean Sorenson, is under no illusions about the task ahead.

"We will be playing three games in 10 days against the best under 20 age group teams in Australia. It will be tough but our team will be well prepared. We'll be putting our players through an intense NRL-style pre-season training programme. They'll be working like they've never worked before."

Sorenson will be building on the real strength of Pacific Island league.

"These players have strength, power, and flair. They are exciting to watch and to coach. Combined with solid fitness and a structured game plan, I truly believe this team can be hugely successful."

The exciting future of Pacific Island rugby league has been recognised by major team sponsor, McCallum Industries Limited, manufacturers of Palm Corned Beef.

"We are proud to be supporting PIRLA," says McCallum's Chris Bing. "This tour provides us with the opportunity to support our youth in their pursuit of sporting excellence. This will not only enhance the game of rugby league but will also have a very positive effect on our Pacific Island communities."

The tour will take place between February 3-10, 2005. The Pacific Marlins will start training in mid-September.

ENDS

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