SPORTS | Super Rugby

Why Fiji Bati? Qareqare Tells

"In England, football is the biggest sport so everyone wants to be a footballer and I was in a set up with York City and trying to make my way up so I didn't really think much about rugby until that time.
31 Oct 2023 16:32
Why Fiji Bati? Qareqare Tells
Jason Qareqare. Photo: LoveRugby League

Watching the Vodafone Fiji Bati play at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in England where they reached the semifinal, inspired young Jason Qareqare (pictured right) to play for his country.

He made his debut for the Bati in Sunday’s 43-16 win over the Papua New Guinea Kumuls in Port Moresby.

Qareqare, who made his Super League debut for Castleford as a 17-year-old in 2021, was a promising football player with York City and had never seen a league match until his father took him to the World Cup clash with Ireland at Rochdale.

Led by Petero Civoniceva and featuring the likes of Kevin Naiqama, Aquila Uate, Semi Radradra and the Sims brothers, Ashton, Korbin and Tariq, the Bati triumphed 32- 14 and Qareqare decided to represent his nation of birth.

“I started as a football lad, I really loved my football and I didn’t really play much rugby until I was about 11,” Qareqare said.

“That’s when I made the switch.


The 2013 World Cup came to England and that was my first ever time watching a rugby game and I loved it.

“In England, football is the biggest sport so everyone wants to be a footballer and I was in a set up with York City and trying to make my way up so I didn’t really think much about rugby until that time.

“I saw players like Kevin Naiqama playing and I just got inspired to play. I never really looked back at football because I wanted to play rugby for the rest of my life.”

The teenager grew up in England after his father joined the British

Army and was initially posted to Germany when he was four years old.

A gifted athlete, Qareqare was recruited at a young age by York City and played striker for the club’s development team before making the switch to rugby league.

With his speed, Qareqare made a smooth transition to the wing and he scored 13 tries in 19 Super League appearances this season.


While he is eligible to play for England, the 19-year-old insisted he was committed to representing Fiji at international level.

“For me to play for my country, and the country that both my parents are from, is such a privilege and an honour,” he said.

“I lost my grand-dad a year ago and I think he would have wanted me to play Fiji so I don’t think I could ever switch to play for England.”

Last Sunday, he came in as a replacement for Panthers star Sunia Turuva who was ruled out with a calf injury.

“Jason is a very, very raw talent but the has something special that everyone looks for and that is speed,” Bati coach Wise Kativerata said.

“I watched him debut ([for Castleford) when he was 17 and he makes things look easy so that is another kid we are putting in this week to see how he handles international competition. Kids like Jason are the future of the Fiji Bati.”




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