Castleford winger Jason Qareqare and Salford prop King Vuniyayawa have been named in Fiji’s squad for the upcoming Pacific Championships.
Qareqare will make his official international debut this autumn if he makes Wise Kativerata’s matchday 17 for their games against Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands.
The Castleford speedster was involved in Fiji’s preparations for last year’s World Cup but didn’t make the final squad.
The 19-year-old played in their warm-up game against England in Salford last year but it didn’t count as his international debut as it wasn’t deemed an official test match.
Qareqare has scored 14 tries in 21 appearances for the Tigers since bursting onto the Super League scene as a 17-year-old in 2021.
Speaking in a Castleford press conference last month, Qareqare was asked about his Fijian aspirations, saying: “Growing up, watching them come over to the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, that was an experience for me and that really inspired me to push on in rugby league.
“If they didn’t come over to England I don’t think I’d be in the position I’m in now.
“Pulling on that jersey is a really proud moment for me and my family.”
Meanwhile, Salford powerhouse Vuniyayawa will be hoping to add to his seven caps for his homeland.
The 28-year-old prop played in his first World Cup last year, playing in all four of their matches, including their quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.
Melbourne Storm forward Tui Kamikamica takes over the Fijian captaincy from long-serving skipper Kevin Naiqama, who is currently playing for Huddersfield in Super League.
Rising star Sunia Turuva, who helped Penrith Panthers win the NRL Grand Final last week, has also been named for Fiji after playing in last year’s World Cup.
Fiji will get their Pacific Championships campaign underway on October 22 when they face the Cook Islands in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
The Bati will then face hosts Papua New Guinea the following week on October 29.
The final of the men’s Pacific Bowl tournament – involving Fiji, Papua New Guinea or the Cook Islands – takes place on November 5 at Santos Stadium in Port Moresby.
Fiji squad for Pacific Championships
Waqa Blake (Parramatta Eels)
Jahream Bula (Wests Tigers)
Kurt Donoghoe (Dolphins)
Kitione Kautoga (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Tui Kamikamica (Melbourne Storm)
Sirilo Lovokuro (Kaiviti Silktails)
Taane Milne (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
Noah Nailagoliva (Newcastle Knights)
Caleb Navale (Manly Sea Eagles)
Jason Qareqare (Castleford Tigers)
Mikaele Ravalawa (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Mesake Ravonu (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Apisalome Saukuru (Wests Tigers)
Maika Sivo (Parramatta Eels)
Peni Tagituimua (Canterbury Bulldogs)
Sunia Turuva (Penrith Panthers)
King Vuniyayawa (Salford Red Devils)
Brandon Wakeham (Wests Tigers)
Watisoni Waqanisaravi (Kaiviti Silktails)
Gordon Whippy (Ipswich Jets)