The Women and Girls Working Group (WGWG) mandated by International Rugby League (IRL) to advise the Board on the development of women and girls rugby league, has appointed its first secretary, So’oletaua Motuliki. She will take up her position immediately.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday Motuliki says; “I feel so humbled to be have been offered the role. And at the same time absolutely ecstatic to be able to work with people who have already been in the sport for a long time,” she said.

So’o is one of two women in the Vanuatu Rugby League Board. She was introduced to Rugby League in Vanuatu around in 2016 when she was appointed as a women’s rugby league development officer for Port Vila Rugby League.

Shortly after she was appointed as a board member to the Vanuatu Rugby League (VRL) Board and, in 2019, appointed Secretary General for VRL. So’o is also the VRL facilitator for Port Vila Rugby League and the Domestic Competition Committee.

By profession So’o is a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Vanuatu and the High Court of the Republic of Fiji. She is of Samoan and Tokelauan descent and has lived for almost 10 years in Vanuatu with her husband and two daughters.

She has a massive passion for the growth and development of Rugby League in Vanuatu not only for the women but also for Rugby League as a whole. She is a massive advocate for gender equality in sports and passionately supports women in Rugby League.

Chair of WGC, Julia Lee welcomed the appointment saying;

“I am so pleased to welcome So’o as secretary. The combination of her legal skills and passion for rugby league bring an added dimension to our group.

“In a very short time we have established a clear vision for the growth of the international female game. We have already developed high level outcomes and measurements to guide us in our work.

“The appointment supports the inclusive nature of rugby league and particularly the desire for female participation world-wide”

So’o is excited to be taking up this post saying;

“I am delighted to take up the Secretary position. I’ve had the privilege of being part of the development of rugby league in Vanuatu, with particular focus on the women and girls’ game. Not only will I be able to take those learnings and collaborate on an international level, I am also ecstatic to be working with and learning from the women in this committee on how to further the sport not only for the women but development as a whole. This is an exciting prospect.”

The group is formed of people actively involved in rugby league in various parts of the world. Chair Julia Lee is joined by Luisa Avaiki, head of women’s rugby league for New Zealand Rugby League, Tahina Booth, a PNG Orchids international player, Tiffany Slater, General Manager of NRL Women’s Elite Program, Stuart Barrow, RFL’s Women and Girls National Talent Managare, Tiziano Franchini, the Italian women’s coach, and the IRL’s Sara Piper, a digital and marketing specialist.