Jason Qareqare: How Castleford Tigers youngster was inspired by Fiji's performance at 2013 rugby league World Cup

World Cup organisers regularly stress the importance of leaving a legacy and Castleford Tigers’ young winger Jason Qareqare is a golden example of that in practice.

By Peter Smith
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 3:15 pm

The 17-year-old, who was born in Fiji, made one of the most remarkable debuts in Betfred Super League’s history, storming over for a try with his first touch just 45 seconds into a home clash with Hull last June.

He is now a member of Tigers’ first-team squad, completing a whirlwind rise through the ranks which might not have happened but for rugby league’s 2013 World Cup.

“I didn’t really start off playing rugby,” revealed Qareqare whose name is pronounced Garygary.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Teenager Jason Qareqare rounds Hull's Jake Connor to score 45 seconds inbto his Tigers debut last June. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“Up until the 2013 World Cup I was playing football. I was playing for York City, but the 2013 World Cup came, Fiji came over and made the semi-finals and I got inspired by that.”

Qareqare, who lives in Sherburn-in-Elmet, took to his new code immediately and was signed by Tigers after impressing in the youth ranks at Kippax Welfare.

Drafted from the academy into the side to face Hull at short notice, he made three senior appearances last year, despite still being a pupil at Queen Ethelburga’s School near York.

Read More

Read More
George Griffin: Castleford Tigers 'ready to go' says forward as training resumes...
Jason Qareqare, second from left, celebrates his debut try alongside Tigers teammates, from left to right, Danny Richardson, Michael Shenton and Adam Milner. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“I am part-time, three times a week,” he said of his rugby commitments. “It should be five times a week, but I am in school on a Monday and Wednesday.

“I am studying BTEC sport and BTEC business.

“I never thought I would break through this early so it was a bit of a shock but, when I told them [the school], they were fine with it.

“They have been really supportive, if there’s any work I need to catch up on, they help me - and with out-of-school sessions.

Jason Qareqare. Picture by Tony Johnson.

“Cas as well, they have been really good with me.

“If I need time off - because it’s my last year of school, which is obviously important - they have let me have some days off before big tests.”

Qareqare - son of a British Army soldier, whose family moved from Fiji to Germany in 2004 and relocated to England four years later - described the past 12 months as “surreal”.

His touchdown against Hull was voted Tigers’ try of the season and he recalled: “Before the game I was really nervous.

“And in the warm-up as well, with the crowd building up, it was really nerve-wracking.

“Now I am looking forward to hopefully getting some games under my belt and progressing with my rugby.”

The Tigers prospect is not the only aspiring rugby star in his family.

His 15-year-old brother Marcus was part of the latest scholarship intake at Castleford’s arch-rivals Leeds Rhinos.

Jason said: “He got offered a place at both Cas and Leeds.

“We sat around a table and discussed what was the best option for him.

“I was saying ‘Cas, everyone knows you there’, but he wanted to go a different route and try and make a name for himself.”

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. You'll enjoy unlimited access to the latest on Leeds United, Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Trinity, as well as other West Yorkshire rugby league clubs. With our sports digital subscription, you'll also see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times and get exclusive content. Click here to subscribe.