The Australian Government's PacificAus Sports is partnering with Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby to provide scholarships to six Pacific athletes to join Australian Super W clubs for the 2024 season.
These scholarships build on the success of this year's program which also saw six Pacific athletes join Australian Super W clubs playing important roles for their teams throughout the season. Two of these players, Easter Savelio and Fa'alua Tugaga, have been rewarded with 2024 season scholarships.
Selected from the 2023 Oceania Rugby Women's Combine in August, the following players will be joining Super W clubs in 2024:
- Suititi Ma'ake and Seneti Kilisimasi will join the Western Force.
- Ana Mamea will join the Melbourne Rebels and Easter Savelio will remain with the team following a successful 2023 scholarship season.
- Neomai Vunga and Fa'alua Tugaga will join the ACT Brumbies, with Tugaga coming off a 2023 scholarship season with the Rebels.
This support follows the Australian Government's recent announcement that it will continue to fund the Fijiana Drua's participation in the Super W competition, further strengthening women's high-performance sport in the region.
Through PacificAus Sports, Rugby Australia and Oceania Rugby are also working with Pacific rugby organisations to increase opportunities for Pacific teams and players to participate in Australian and regional rugby competitions, and to provide professional development for coaches and officials.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP:
“We are thrilled these talented players will have the opportunity to join Australian Super W clubs for the 2024 season and inspire women and girls across the Pacific to pursue their dreams.
“The Albanese Government is proud to be increasing the pathways for aspiring female athletes in the Pacific in the region. There's so much potential for our shared love of sport to bring people across the Pacific closer together.”
Quotes attributable to Tongan player, Suititi Ma'ake:
“I am really grateful and would like to thank Oceania Rugby, Rugby Australia and PacificAus Sports for this wonderful opportunity. This is a huge achievement not only for me and my family, but also for women's rugby in Tonga. I will do my ultimate best to make everyone proud, to pave the way with the hope to inspire the next generation of girls in my beautiful country.”
Quotes Attributable to Richard Sapias, President, Oceania Rugby:
“Oceania Rugby is proud to stand together with the Australian Federal Government, in our collective ambition to achieve gender equality across the region. To see six of our young players realise their dreams of playing in the Super W competition is a fantastic outcome and will continue to build the aspirations of young girls from across our Pacific Unions. These outcomes would certainly not have been possible without the support of our partners in PacificAus Sports, World Rugby and Rugby Australia.
Quotes attributable to Phil Waugh, Chief Executive Officer, Rugby Australia:
“Players of Pacific heritage have made such wonderful contributions to Rugby Australia, including our national teams. It will be great to welcome a further six players from the region to our Super W clubs in 2024. Rugby Australia will continue to partner with Oceania Rugby and the Australian government to create development opportunities and pathways to elite rugby for Pacific athletes, and we acknowledge the positive outcomes PacificAus Sports continues to deliver for rugby in our region.”