Solomon Islands Rugby League team’s preparation for its test match against Vanuatu next Saturday is boosted with the arrival of New Zealand based player Damien Rex-Horoi this week.

Damien who is the son of a well-known Solomon Islands diplomat, Rex Horoi is based in New Zealand and when the SIRL called him to represent his country he was too happy to take up the offer.

Damien represented Solomon Islands last year when the national SIRL team took on Vanuatu in Vila and it will be the first time that he and his Solomon Islands team mates will be playing in front of the home crowd next Saturday.

Speaking exclusively to SBMonline this morning, Damien said: “Last year they asked me to come on board with the team, I straightaway put my hand up. They asked me again to join them again (national SIRL team) this year so ‘yes’ definitely I will be there. So I take some time off from work and now I am here.”

Born in Honiara, Damien, 26, now lives in New Zealand the homeland of his mother where he works and plays rugby league in Wellington.

But the boy from Makira still calls Solomon Islands home.

“Putting on the jersey for my country is one of the most satisfying things and I was honoured to represent my country,” Damien said when asked about how he felt playing for Solomons against Vanuatu last year.

The two teams meet again and Damien and his Solomon Islands teammates are raring to give their best shot against their Melanesian neighbours.

Damien and his Solomon Islands team-mates are looking forward to ending Vanuatu’s winning run against them when the two Melanesian sides clash on the 21st of October in Honiara. This will be the third test between the two countries.

Damien was born in Honiara but spent most of his time overseas, seven years in New York where he grew up as a kid when his father was the country’s ambassador in New York, then on to Vanuatu and Fiji before moving to New Zealand.

– Read Damien’s full story in the next SBM-