Saturday, March 2, 2024
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Qareqare gives up football for Bati  

England raised Fijian speedster Jason Qareqare gave up a promising football career to rugby league after watching the Fiji Bati play at the 2013 World Cup.

The 19-year-old Castleford winger makes his Test debut against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby today, has revealed that he was a promising soccer player with York City and had never seen a rugby league match until his father took him to the World Cup clash between Fiji and Ireland at Rochdale.

Qareqare, who made his Super League debut for Castleford as a 17-year-old in 2021, was stunned to see the then Fiji Bati’s performance led by experienced stars such as Petero Civoniceva, Kevin Naiqama, Aquila Uate, Semi Radradra and others.

“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 told

“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.”

He grew up in England after his father joined the British Army and was initially posted to Germany when he was four years old.

Qareqare was recruited at a young age by York City and played striker for the club’s development team before making the switch to league and with his speed, he made a smooth transition to the wing and he scored 13 tries in 19 Super League appearances this season.

While Qereqere is eligible to play for England, he insisted to remain committed to represent 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. 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.”

Qareqare played in a warm-up match against England before last year’s World Cup but will make his official Test debut against the Kumuls in the Pacific Championships after Panthers star Sunia Turuva was ruled out with a calf injury.

Fiji Bati will face the PNG Kumuls at 5pm in Port Moresby today.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist |


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