Brandon Costin, the former Huddersfield Giants and Bradford Bulls player who is now the head coach of the Fiji Bati Rugby League team, has claimed that a Pacific nation will win one of the next three Rugby League World Cups.
Costin, who recently started his role as full-time head coach of the Bati, was outlining why he is so ambitious for the sport in Fiji and also across the wider Pacific region.
“We are dealing with the best athletes in the world. They are built like a rock and can run like the wind – I am in awe of their size and speed. Our responsibility is to put some Rugby League into them by nurturing the game on the islands,” he said.
“When you consider that over 40 per cent of the current NRL athletes are of island heritage, it is a foregone conclusion that one of the Pacific nations will win one of the next three Rugby League World Cups.”
Costin, who is the first full-time coach of the Fiji Bati and has already spoken to players and coaches of clubs playing in the Vodafone Cup, sees the elements all being put in place to ensure that the Bati can emerge as a real challenger and he is looking forward to leading this ambitious programme.
“The RLIF Oceania Cup is a brilliant concept. The Pacific nations are gagging for this level of competition and it will all lead into a magnificent World Cup in 2021,” he added.
“Our job is to encourage and develop the youth players and get them on a pathway into the NRL or Super League systems. On the island we are hoping to get the go-ahead for a club in the NSW Cup which will put another 30 full-time athletes into the programme. They will live, eat, train and play together and this provides them with the platform to play for the Bati and launch a real challenge on the World Cup.
“We are charged with getting the domestic players up to speed to create a complete pathway from domestic competition through the NSW Cup and into the NRL and Super League. By 2025 there will be a huge pool of local players who have had the opportunity to be a part of this.”