Elliot Wallis wants Nigeria and other nations around the world to follow in the footsteps of Papua New Guinea where establishing themselves in international rugby league is concerned.
Huddersfield Giants new boy Wallis hasn’t actually donned a shirt for the Green Hawks as yet, but is eligible to do so through his late grandfather, and was named in their first-ever training squad back in 2019.
Two years earlier, he’d seen the Kumuls face England in a World Cup quarter-final with some games in that tournament taking place on PNG soil.
Since, Justin Holbrook’s side have got into another World Cup quarter-final and won the inaugural Pacific Bowl, blowing Fiji away in the final of that competition in the autumn just gone.
All the while, Kumuls aces have continued to get chances in Super League, with a total of nine set to star among Britain’s ‘elite’ this year.
Huddersfield Giants new boy Elliot Wallis details international ambitions with hopes of representing Nigerian heritage
Hull-born Wallis may not be a proud Nigerian by birth, but would be honoured to represent his heritage if the chance arises, as he detailed in an exclusive chat with Love Rugby League last month.
He said: “I was just surrounded with lads playing for Scotland or Ireland, and I’m stood there thinking, ‘well I’ve got a bit of Nigerian in me’, so I looked into it.
“It was with the physio up at Hull KR, we did a bit of digging on LinkedIn, I created a profile and I got in touch with Joe Mbu (Nigeria coach).
“I think the squad was just starting, so it just popped into my head that they were building something and I could be a part of it, but I’ve not worn a shirt for them, at least not yet anyway.
“It’s all about giving people the opportunity because ultimately it’s a great one to have.”
Elliot Wallis: Nations like Nigeria can develop in the game, just look at Papua New Guinea
The 23-year-old has joined Huddersfield this off-season, bringing an end to two years at the Jungle with Castleford Tigers, who have three PNG stars in their pack for 2024 having added Sylvester Namo and Nixon Putt.
2023 saw Wallis line up alongside Liam Horne, and has urged countries around the globe to learn from the progress made by the Kumuls in the game, including Nigeria.
He continued: “I know PNG are in the discussions among the top international teams now, but to get to this point for them, it’s been about a development process being in place.
“So many of the players from PNG now are coming over to Super League, and I think that goes to show that representing internationally puts you in the shop window.
“That’s the case even if you do play for someone like Nigeria, who at this moment in time just aren’t necessarily going to win a World Cup.
“You just know that playing internationally, especially when it comes to the time for a World Cup, is an opportunity to go and showcase yourself and what you can do.”