December 16, 2020
James Fisher-Harris and Krystal Rota have been named the 2020 New Zealand Rugby League Players of the Year for the first time in their careers, while Dylan Brown earned Young Kiwi Player of the Year for the second year running and Autumn-Rain Stephens Dally took home Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year.
In a season that saw no Kiwi Internationals due to the ongoing implications of Covid-19, the 2020 Kiwis High-Performance Awards were judged solely on NRL performance. The Kiwi Ferns Awards have been credited on international merit due to their clash against Fetu Samoa Invitational which was the only New Zealand Rugby League International for the year.
2020 Kiwis Player of the year, James Fisher-Harris (Kiwi #801), was named 2020 Dally M Prop of the year and earned recognition as one of the NRL’s best and most hardworking forwards. Passing the 100-game milestone for the Panthers, he led the competition in post-contact metres, was the top forward in terms of total run metres and played an integral role in the Panthers’ drive to their first grand final in 17 years.
Kiwis Head Coach Michael Maguire says, “James has performed consistently right throughout the year at such a high standard and to make it to the grand final is a real credit to him.”
“It’s been a pleasure to watch him develop into the player he is, one of his biggest strengths is consistency, you know what he’s going to deliver for his team and he’s a step above where he’s ever been and how he performs. He’s a quiet achiever but he’s all about action. James is a clear asset to any team he’s a part of and is well-deserving of this accolade.”
Captaining her country for the first time, the 10 Test veteran Krystal Rota and 2020 Kiwi Fern player of the year, led the Kiwi Ferns to their 28-8 win over Fetu Samoa Invitational in November. No stranger to the captaincy role, 2020 also saw her captain the Māori All-Stars as well as the Counties Manukau Stingrays, leading them to their 11th straight women’s title in the Sky Sport Women’s Premiership.
Kiwi Ferns Head Coach Ricky Henry says, “This was Krystal’s most influential year. I knew she had leadership capabilities from watching her in the Māori All-Stars and throughout her Counties campaigns but these qualities were definitely on display in Kiwi Ferns camp.”
“Captaining your country is whole other ball game, it’s the highest level of leadership and responsibility a player can have and she rose to the challenge. A worthy recipient and these qualities will only continue to grow.”
For the second year running, Kiwis Junior Player of the Year, Dylan Brown cemented his place in the NRL as one of its elite playmakers. Brown made 16 regular-season appearances for Paramatta, with nine line-breaks, 52 tackle-busts, 11 forced dropouts and five tries. At just 20 years of age, he was instrumental in the Eels’ run to the playoffs drawing praise from the highest levels of the game for his defence and multi-faceted attack.
Kiwis Head Coach Michael Maguire says, “A real quality Dylan has shown is his ability to improve every time he steps out on the field.”
“He’s grown as a player and he had a taste of the Kiwis at the Nines last year but I know a real driver for him is to earn a Kiwis Test jersey and he’s definitely heading in the right direction. Watching him push his team around the park, putting his body on the line, growing his leadership capabilities but at the same time building his own game has been pleasing to watch. He’s maturing as a player and showing his true character both on and off the field.”
2020 Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year, Autumn-Rain Stephens Dally, enjoyed a meteoric rise after switching to rugby league in 2020.
Named MVP of the inaugural NZRL National Women’s Championship after her stand-out performance at full-back for the Upper Central Stallions, she then made her international debut at five-eighth for the Kiwi Ferns against Fetu Samoa Invitational.
The 24-year-old’s skills were on display at Mt Smart Stadium, as she played a key hand in two tries before scoring two more of her own, including a blistering 50-metre effort.
Coach Ricky Henry said, “Autumn-Rain scored three tries in the first ever game I watched her play, she’s an outstanding talent that seems to have found her home with rugby league.”
“She’s willing to learn and grow, initially playing out of position but rising to the challenge. She wreaked havoc on the field, she’s explosive, fast and these skills will only mature. She’s definitely one for the future.”
2020 High-Performance Winners:
Kiwis Player of the Year – James Fisher Harris
Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year – Krystal Rota
Kiwi Ferns Rookie of the Year – Autumn-Rain Stephens Dally
Kiwis Young Player of the Year – Dylan Brown
2020 NZRL Community Award Winners
Grassroots Club of the Year – Mangere East
Domestic Men’s Player of the Year – Francis Leger
Domestic Women’s Player of the Year – Harata Butler
Domestic Coach of the Year – Phil Gordon
U16s Player of the Year – Tre Fotu
U18s Player of the Year – Sam McIntyre
Match Official of the Year – Paki Parkinson
Pirtek Volunteer of the Year – Shayne Wassel
The 2020 NZRL Community Award recipients have tonight been announced with Mangere East Rugby League Club taking out NZRL Grassroots Club of the Year.
What was a truly testing year, Mangere East shone through as a servant for its community, going above and beyond to provide a safe space, while continuing to promote and grow the game of rugby league despite the year’s challenges.
Mangere Easts’ weekly ‘Life Soup Kitchen’ provided free hot meals throughout the year in a safe environment for families that were struggling to make ends meet. The club responded quickly to Auckland’s second lockdown by providing a free Covid-19 testing station in their car park, encouraging members within their community to get checked.
Gala days, school holiday programmes and free meals for local families, are only a fraction of the work Mangere East have been doing off the field to continually serve the needs of their people, epitomising NZRL’s More Than A Game.
The 2020 NZ 16s Player of the Year was awarded to Marists’ Tre Fotu. He was a standout against the NZ Māori 17s scoring a double and continually asking questions of the defence.
NZ 16s Head Coach, Phil Gordon says; “Tre is a young man who epitomised the meaning and value of wearing the Black and White jersey. He was a focused trainer, disciplined in his approach and committed to executing game plans and structures at the highest level.”
The NZ 18s Player of the Year for 2020 was awarded to Northcote Tiger and NZ 18s Clubs captain, Sam McIntyre. Sam captained the NZ 18s Club team in the inaugural Schools v Clubs match, scoring one try and leading his side to a 34-22 victory.
NZ 18s Head Coach, Tusa Lafaele says; “Sam has always displayed a high skill level, technique and ability as an athlete. Often what separates the talented from the successful, is the attitude and fortitude to work hard and be prepared to make sacrifices. Sam has always applied himself in this manner, striving for success and competing with true grit.”
Akarana veteran, Francis Leger, was awarded NZRL Domestic Men’s Player of the Year due to his outstanding season captaining Akarana to their fifth straight NZRL Premiership victory, as well as the NZ Residents.
Harata Butler took home NZRL Domestic Women’s Player of the Year after a successful season in Counties Manukau colours, earning her MVP of the Sky Sport Women’s Premiership as well as her international Kiwi Ferns debut.
NZRL Domestic Coach of the Year was awarded to Phil Gordon after he coached his undefeated Akarana side to an impressive fifth NZRL Premiership, as well the NZ Resident 16s to a convincing 42-6 victory over the NZ Māori Resident 17s.
NZRL Match Official of the Year was awarded to veteran Paki Parkinson after a successful season officiating the NZRL Premiership, NZ 16s and the NZ Residents v NZ Maori Residents.
Pirtek’s 2020 Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Takahiwai’s Shayne Wassel. Despite several disabilities including mild deafness, speech impediment and blindness in one eye, the single father of four never lets that get in the way of his ability to go above and beyond for his local club, whanau and community – Read more about Shayne’s story here.
NZRL would also like to give a special mention to runner up clubs for Grassroots Club of the Year, the Eastern Eagles and Timaru Outlaws.
Despite financial difficulties, the Eastern Eagles immediately switched focus to supporting its club members and the wider community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking support from local businesses, the Eagles procured and co-ordinated the receipt and delivery of hundreds of food packs and other essentials items, reaching pockets of the community that were often missed.
The Timaru Outlaws, just four years old, had only one U7s team in 2018, as of 2020 they now have five junior teams playing under the senior side equating to around 100 registered U13 players. Based in a non-traditional rugby league area, with no club rooms, it’s the collective efforts of the community and their strong whanau values-driven approach that has seen this club flourish with momentum only continuing to rise.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “These awards recognise exceptional work in our grassroots, domestic and community space both on and off the field. We congratulate each recipient on their outstanding achievement.
“Thank you to those in our rugby league communities who continue to go above and beyond for our game. In what was a challenging year for most, it’s the dedication of our people that keep rugby league thriving – thank you.”
To watch the NZRL Community Awards, please click here.
The NZRL High-Performance Awards will be broadcast tonight Sky Sport 4 at 7:30 pm.
December 9, 2020
New Zealand Rugby League will kick off its inaugural National 20s Competition on Saturday 27 February 2021. The round-robin competition will play over five consecutive weeks with the two top placed teams set to face off in the final the weekend of April 2.
The NZRL National 20s Competition will involve six teams from across New Zealand with Zones and appropriate Districts represented.
Auckland will host two teams as Auckland Rugby League, Akarana and Counties Manukau join forces to create an Auckland Blue and Auckland White team. Other teams represented include Northland; Wai-Coa Bay, with the inclusion of Waikato, Hauraki, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Coastline Districts; Central Districts, including Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington; and South Island, including Tasman, Canterbury, West Coast, Aoraki, Southland and Otago Districts.
This year the NZRL National Youth Tournament will move to a 16s and 18s age group format as opposed to its previous 15s and 17s structure to coincide with both Sport NZ’s ‘Balance is Better’ philosophy, as well as the NSW and QLD age group competitions.
With this shift in age categories, NZRL will provide an additional three years of growth and development opportunities for players here in New Zealand with 16s, 18s and now 20s pathways. NZRL will take this a step further come 2022 by entering an NZRL U19 team into the NSW SG Ball competition.
The NZRL National 20s Competition will not only showcase New Zealand’s domestic game but it will provide Clubs and Districts with the opportunity to recruit and retain rangatahi talent, an age group notorious for significant drop-offs in sporting activity according to Sport NZ.
NZRL GM of High Performance and Football, Motu Tony says: “We have been working hard to improve the pathways we provide for our young rugby league players in New Zealand.”
“Our rangatahi are vital to the domestic and professional success of the code, the average age of an NRL debutant is now 21, so it’s crucial we are developing and strengthening this age group as much as we can at home. This competition also allows coaches, managers, trainers and match officials to gain further development and experience.
“The 20s Competition allows us to foster budding rugby league talent from up and down the country and the potential NZRL 2022 SG Ball team adds another layer of incentive for our young players.”
Fixture list and venue confirmation will be finalised in the coming weeks.
8th December 2020
In partnership with Le Va, NZRL has produced a ‘Wellbeing Waka’ that will work to better the mental health and wellbeing outcomes of rugby league communities across New Zealand.
The Wellbeing Waka is a mental health roadshow that is set to sail to 10 of its 17 Districts from now until April. The roadshow not only aims to deliver interactive and educational workshops for Rangatahi and parents, but the Waka will go a step further to develop ‘Wellbeing Champions’ for each of the District areas.
These Champions will be on the ground contacts who provide wellbeing support networks for their communities once the Waka leaves. These Champions will be subject to training opportunities to strengthen their personal tool kits when dealing with potential crises or matters of need regarding mental health, suicide prevention and overall wellbeing.
The Wellbeing Waka will work to provide a safe space to encourage youth and parent forum discussions around mental health and suicide prevention. The Waka aims to empower youth to establish support networks among peers to ensure the voice of the young person is spoken, heard and has a seat at the table in each of the rugby league Districts.
NZRL Wellbeing Manager, Carmen Taplin says: “Our mental health and suicide rates for Maori and Pasifika from within our rugby league communities is high compared to other ethnicities.
“We believe that with education and creating sustainable support networks in our Districts, we are able to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of our people and their families.
“We don’t just want to come, deliver a workshop and go. We are here to create a sustainable support model that works to break down the stigma associated with mental health through empowering Rangatahi and those most effected to take the lead within their communities.
“Through these initial workshops and upskilling of staff and Wellbeing Champions as well the power of past and present players, we are hoping to create a safe and supported mental health network through rugby league.”
The first Wellbeing Waka will take place this Wednesday 5:45 pm at Te Atatu Roosters Rugby League Club in Auckland, 44 Titoki Street, featuring special guest Ali Lauitiiti.
NZRL’s Wellbeing Waka is for boys and girls (12 – 18+) as well as parents.
The Waka is free of charge and korero and kai will be provided.
Keep an eye out on NZRL’s channels for the Wellbeing Waka’s next destinations.
October 16, 2020
New Zealand Rugby League wishes to congratulate the following players selected in the NZRL Schools and NZRL Clubs teams who are set to face each other in the inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs match on November 8th at Mt Smart Stadium.
The NZRL Schools v Clubs game will kick-off at 2 pm followed by the NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents match at 4 pm. It’s a gold coin entry into Mt Smart on the day and thanks to Sky Sport both games will be televised live.
The NZRL Schools v Clubs match is the first of its kind and will act as a key development pathway for New Zealand 18 players.
For 2020, the New Zealand Schools team comprises of identified players from the Auckland Rugby League Secondary Schools competition as well as those registered in full-time study.
The New Zealand Clubs team consists of identified players who have competed in regional tournaments or a meaningful club competition in 2020.
Going forward, this inaugural fixture is set to stick as an annual event in which the New Zealand Schools team will comprise of players actively playing in the NZRL National Secondary school competition, and the New Zealand Clubs team will be selected from District, Zone and National Youth programmes.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the National Secondary School Competition and NZRL Youth tournament were cancelled for 2020; however, players identified in the New Zealand Resident 18s wider squad back in February make up the majority of the selections for this year.
NZRL GM of Football and High Performance, Motu Tony says; “This Schools v Clubs match is an important pathway going forward for our young and aspiring Kiwi talent. Although COVID has altered our selection process a bit for this year, it’s exciting to see this fixture come to light despite the pandemic setbacks.
“We have an impressive list of talented 18 players from up and down the country representing both the Schools and Clubs sides. This game presents our 18s with a great opportunity to showcase their skill and position themselves favourably for opportunities that may arise in 2021.”
NZRL congratulates the following players:
October 7, 2020
New Zealand Rugby League wishes to congratulate the following selected in the 2020 New Zealand Resident 16s squad who will face the New Zealand Māori Rugby League 17s on the 24th October at Rotorua International Stadium.
The fixture will be live-streamed on NZMRL and NZRL Facebook pages and will bring a close to Day One of the annual New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) Tuakana Tournament.
17 players will be named from the below 19 to take the field on the day, congratulations to the following:
Head Coach – Phil Gordon (Akarana)
Asst Coach – Peter Butler (Mid Central)
Asst Coach – Alex Parker (Upper Central)
Manager – Clarissa Percival (Mid Central)
Head Trainer – Ben Collins (Akarana)
Asst Trainer – Clayton Amer (Wellington Rugby League)
NZMRL will select an U17s team from their Rangatahi Tournament just been which celebrated its 20th year over the weekend.
The highly successful NZMRL Rangatahi Tournament has provided a pathway for many young Kiwi players over recent years; 2020 NRL debutants Jordan Riki, Jackson Ferris and Matt Timoko have all previously played in the NZMRL Rangatahi Tournament.
In 2017, now Brisbane Bronco, Jordan Riki, captained the NZMRL U17s against NZ Resident 16s in a close game, where the NZ Resident 16s came away with the win 32 – 28.
John Devonshire, NZMRL Chairman says, “The 2020 season has been a huge challenge for all sectors across our code. To be able to stage a representative game for our elite players is awesome.
“We the NZMRL are happy to accommodate the NZRL in what we see as an exciting match up. We are very proud of our NZ Māori 17’s Rangatahi team and wish them well. It is one thing to play for your country, it is another to play for your people, kia kaha te tima Māori.”
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi Great, John Whittaker #485, who unfortunately lost his battle with cancer last night.
Whittaker, 70, was inducted as one of New Zealand Rugby League’s Legends of League in 2012 due to his outstanding career in the Black and White jersey which spanned 13 seasons, he was also named in New Zealand Rugby League’s Team of the Century.
Whittaker made his international debut for the Kiwis in 1970 and went on to earn 24 caps for the Kiwis including four World Cups. Despite suffering significant injuries in a motoring accident, he made a full recovery and was recalled in the early 1980s after two years out of the national side.
Following his Kiwis career, Whittaker – affectionately known as “Poppy” – played in the 1986 Pacific Cup representing his home country of Rarotonga.
His early playing days were with the Randwick club in Wellington, where he was a key contributor in multiple premierships from 1968, through to 1983. He earned a mammoth 73 caps for Wellington, rightfully classing him as one of Wellington Rugby League’s greatest ever players.
The father of two and grandfather of four will forever be known as a New Zealand Rugby League icon in which his legacy both on and off the field will continue to inspire many for generations to come.
May he rest in peace.
September 17, 2020
Mt Smart Stadium is set to host a jam-packed weekend of rugby league action as the inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs (18s) match followed by an NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents game have been scheduled for Sunday, November 8, following the Kiwi Ferns v Fetū Samoa Test the day prior.
The inaugural NZRL Schools v Clubs game (18s) will kick-off at 2 pm at Mt Smart followed by the NZ Residents v NZ Māori Residents match at 4 pm. Thanks to Sky Sport both games will be televised live.
The NZ Residents squad will consist of the best players from the NZRL National Men’s competition kicking off on October 3.
The last time the two met was in 2017 where the NZ Māori Residents came away with a 22 – 16 victory over the NZ Residents squad.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters says; “To see our NZ Residents and NZ Māori Residents face each other once again is an exciting milestone, it will be a tough clash with plenty of passion and a great way to finish off a specular weekend of rugby league action at Mt Smart.
“The Residents selection is an important accolade and increases the standard of competition for our National Competition. This match will showcase New Zealand’s best grassroots talent from up and down the country, and it’s great to work with NZ Māori Rugby League (NZMRL) again to produce a quality rugby league event.”
NZMRL Chairman, John Devonshire, is delighted that a Māori Residents side will be taking on the NZ Residents in November.
“It is a win-win scenario for both organisations, and it’s great to see the two sides come up against each other. The NZRL premiership competition will take on extra meaning for the players and the ability for our tuakana tournament side to have a live match is awesome.
“The sides have played previously with a break last year due to the touring English side, a game where NZ Māori dominated with a solid victory. I always look forward to these games and more importantly, the opportunity for our players that support our tuakana tournament to put on the Māori jersey.”
The NZRL Schools v Clubs match set for a 2pm kick off prior to the Residents game, is the first of its kind and will act as a key development pathway for New Zealand 18 players.
This inaugural fixture is set to stick as an annual event in which the NZRL Schools team will comprise of players actively playing in the NZRL National Secondary school competition and the NZRL Clubs team selected from District, Zone and National Youth programmes.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 the National Secondary School Competition and NZRL Youth tournament were cancelled for 2020; however, players identified in the NZRL wider squad for the New Zealand Resident 18s back in February will make up the majority of the selections for this year.
The New Zealand Schools team will be comprised of identified players from the Auckland Rugby League Secondary Schools competition as well as those registered in full-time study.
The New Zealand Clubs team will consist of identified players who have competed in a meaningful club competition in 2020.
Unfortunately, initial NZ 18s fixtures against England Academies and Fiji Schoolboys had to be called off due to COVID-19 border restrictions.
NZRL GM of Football and High Performance, Motu Tony says; “This Schools v Clubs match will act as an important pathway going forward for our young and aspiring Kiwi talent, so it’s great to see this fixture come to light even despite the COVID setbacks.
“We were disappointed the NZ18s fixtures had to be called off, but our talented 18 players are still able to get a run in what will hopefully develop into a staple calendar event for NZRL.
September 16, 2020
International rugby league is returning to New Zealand soil as the World Nines Champion Kiwi Ferns are set to take on Pacific rivals Fetū Samoa at 4pm on Saturday 7 November at Mt Smart Stadium.
A packed afternoon of women’s rugby league action celebrates the Kiwi Ferns’ 25th Anniversary year. Tonga will take on Niue at 2pm followed by the much anticipated Kiwi Ferns v Fetū Samoa Test in what will be the only New Zealand international Test match for 2020.
The Kiwi Ferns last faced Fetū Samoa in June 2019 where they came away with a convincing 34 -14 victory. The Ferns will be looking to assert further dominance heading towards the 2021 World Cup while the firey Fetū Samoa will be hungry for redemption.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says; “It is really exciting to see this Test come to light despite the COVID-19 setbacks throughout the year.
“What better way to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Kiwi Ferns than with a stand-alone women’s Test and an afternoon packed of women’s rugby league action. It reflects the exponential growth our female game has experienced, which is only continuing to grow.
“To have the only New Zealand international Test match for the year on home soil is great for the game and also our communities who have missed their fix of live rugby league action in 2020.”
The Ferns will take the field under the helm of new coach Ricky Henry who was recently announced as the Kiwi Ferns Head Coach through until the 2021 World Cup.
Both games will be televised live on Sky Sport with a 4pm kick-off.
NZRL will release further information re ticket on sale dates and prices in due course.
September 15, 2020
New Zealand Rugby League has appointed Ricky Henry as the new Kiwi Ferns Head Coach ahead of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The vastly experienced Henry takes on the role after coaching as an Assistant Coach on both the Kiwi Ferns and Vodafone Warriors Canterbury Cup teams for 2020.
Henry brings with him significant coaching experience having worked as the New Zealand Warriors Assistant Development Coach (2008) Warriors NRL Assistant Coach (2013-14) and Warriors Nines Head Coach (2014), and at a national level, the NZ 18s (2012) and NZ Maori (2016) Head Coach.
NZRL GM of High Performance, Motu Tony says; “Ricky’s appointment is a positive step forward in our preparations for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
“With Ricky assisting the Kiwi Ferns under previous Head Coach Justin Morgan; we are able to maintain the continuity and familiarity Ricky has with our Kiwi Ferns players and our female programme.
Ricky has an impressive list of coaching accolades and is well respected throughout our rugby league communities. It’s exciting to think what the Ferns under the helm of Ricky will be able to produce and we are delighted that he will be taking us to the World Cup next year.”
New Head Coach, Ricky Henry says; “It is a privilege to lead the Kiwi Ferns into the 2021 World Cup.”
“I am passionate about the long term success of Women’s Rugby League and building a strong foundation for the future. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to coach these elite women athletes as we work towards a World Cup victory come 2021.”
NZRL will be releasing further detail on an upcoming international fixture tomorrow.
New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the NZRL National Competitions are back for 2020 and bigger than ever before with the inclusion of the inaugural Sky Sport NZRL National Women’s Premiership.
Thanks to the support of the NZ Government and Sport NZ, the NZRL Men’s and Sky Sport Women’s Premiership competitions will kick off October 3 and proceed over four weeks with both finals expected to take place the last weekend of October. Thanks to Sky Sport, all Premiership fixtures will be televised live on Sky Sport 4.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters said this is an exciting milestone for New Zealand’s grassroots game.
“Firstly, thank you to Sport NZ and the NZ Government, as the return of our National Competitions for 2020 would not have been possible without their significant support through COVID-19.
“Seeing the inaugural Sky Sport NZRL Women’s Premiership come to light on top of this is also a momentous achievement for our game.
“Previously, the women’s competition has been held as a tournament weekend, so having a four-week Premiership parallel to the men’s competition is an exciting milestone. This reflects the positive growth we are seeing in our women’s space, and with all fixtures being televised live on Sky Sport, this will only continue.
“Thank you to Martin Stewart and the team at Sky Sport for their ongoing and invaluable support. We look forward to seeing the best of our grassroots talent on display come October.”
Martin Stewart Sky CEO says, “Sky has a firm commitment to promoting and developing women’s sport at every level in New Zealand. We are delighted our skilled and passionate team is able to bring the Sky Sport Women’s Premiership to rugby league fans throughout New Zealand. We are so looking forward to seeing the athleticism and skills of our leading players live on Sky Sport and streamed on Sky Sport Now.”
The NZRL Championship competition, which is a tier below the premiership, will for the first time also feature a women’s draw. Both North Island Men’s and Women’s Championship competitions will take place between the 17th and 18th of October at Auckland’s Pulman Park with the finals expected to be played the same weekend as the Premiership finals.
The South Island Championship will take place over Labour Weekend in Timaru to which the South Island Champion will come up to Auckland to play the North Island Champion on the Premiership finals weekend.
NZRL will release further information regarding the Premiership and Championship finals fixtures in due course.
Please see below the 2020 Premiership and Championship draws (subject to change)
August 14, 2020
In light of this evening’s Covid-19 announcement, Auckland is remaining at Level 3 for an extended 12 days; therefore all rugby league activity (playing, contact and non-contact training) remains postponed until August 26th subject to ongoing Government updates.
Aucklanders are instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement. The area covered by Alert Level 3 is the Auckland Super City – from Wellsford in the north to Pukekohe in the south.
The remainder of New Zealand remains at Alert Level 2 (excluding Auckland); therefore rugby league activity (training and playing) is permitted, ONLY if clubs and facilities can abide by strict health requirements below, until further notice.
These requirements include what ‘must’ be done, such as:
Please refer to your appropriate District and Club for more specific information on upcoming competitions and fixtures.
NZRL is in close dialogue with Government and Sport NZ and will provide further guidance regarding return to rugby league activity for Auckland when possible (subject to Government updates).
Thank you for your co-operation and understanding during this time.
August 13, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in place across the Auckland region, all Auckland Rugby League games scheduled to be played during the August 14-16 round have been cancelled and will be treated as a ‘Washout Round’.
The ‘Washout Round’ means impacted games will not be rescheduled, with no competition points awarded for the round.
As it stands the Government has placed Auckland under Level 3 restrictions until at least midnight on Friday, August 14, and even if the alert level is lowered ARL CEO Greg Whaiapu said games will not take place this weekend.
“Given the strict COVID-19 protocols that need to be followed, there wouldn’t be enough time for clubs to ensure they have appropriate measures in place even if the alert level was lowered,” Whaiapu said.
“With that in mind we are making the call now because we feel it is in the best interests of everyone involved, regarding their health and safety.”
Updates on future rounds for all grades will be provided at a later date, pending further Government rulings and advice.
In the meantime, all rugby league activity in Auckland, including trainings and gatherings, is suspended.
NZRL is monitoring the situation closely and will continue to update you with the latest information.
We appreciate this is an unsettling time, however we remain vigilant and prepared to tackle this collectively once again.
New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce two new director appointments have been made in Natasha Tere (Elected) and Paula Kearns (Appointed).
Tere boasts over 15 years of strategic and operational management experience and is passionate about sports administration.
Tere was on the Board of Canterbury Netball for eight years and Chairperson of the Canterbury Tactix. She brings a knowledge of Rugby league at a grassroots level and is driven to improve stakeholder engagement and cultural and social diversity.
Kearns also has notable governance experience including her current positions as an External Member of the Audit and Risk Committee Ministry for the Environment and Director and Chair of AFRC of Mount Wellington Trust Hotels Ltd and Keri Corporation Ltd. Additionally, she held previous positions with Ara Taiohi, NZ Football and Foundation North (previously ASB Community Trust).
NZRL Chair, Reon Edwards says, “We were very fortunate to receive a number of applications from quality people involved in business as well as the sport of rugby league. Both Natasha and Paula were stand out applicants who bring welcomed diversity and a vast range of skill sets to the table. They are an exciting addition to our Board.”
New Zealand Rugby League wishes to thank Vice-Chair Elizabeth Richards and Bill McEntee who have both retired from their roles as Board Directors.
NZRL also congratulate Reon Edwards on being re-elected as Chairman and Hugh Martin for being appointed as Vice Chairman.
The 2020 AGM also saw rugby league legend; Frank Morris Endacott ONZM awarded an NZRL Life Membership for his services to the game which spans six decades.
NZRL also wish to congratulate the following 2020 Distinguished Service Awards Recipients: John Peter Brimble, John Gary Clarke, Bill Liddell, Stanley Nicholas and Gary Whittle.
For more information about the recipients please click here.
The NZRL Board – Reon Edwards (Chair), Hugh Martyn (Vice), Tawera Nikau, Andrew Fraser, Grant Stapleton, Natasha Tere and Paula Kearns.
Current Life Members (alphabetical order): John Bray, Jim Campbell, John Coffey, Ray Cranch, Frank Morris Endacott, Cathy Friend, Allen Gore, Ray Haffenden, Don Hammond, Peter Kerridge, Sir Peter Leitch, Bud Lisle, Trevor Maxwell, Cameron McGregor, Sel Pearson, Gerald Ryan, Cherie Steele-Shanks, Howie Tamati, Kevin Tamati.
Congratulations to rugby league legend, Frank Morris Endacott ONZM on being awarded an NZRL Life Membership. Frank Endacott (known as “Happy Frank”) has been involved in the sport of Rugby League for over six decades spanning many roles and responsibilities from player, coach, selector, promoter and player agent.
A stand-off half who was strong both on attack and defence, Frank was seemingly poised for a glittering career at senior level when chosen as a New Zealand Schoolboy Kiwi in 1963. But when he married young, Frank hung up his boots and concentrated on supporting his family.
However, he soon swapped the boots for a clipboard and quickly cemented himself as one of New Zealand’s greatest and most successful coaches and selectors.
Endacott started coaching Canterbury provincial sides in New Zealand before becoming involved with the Auckland Warriors, coaching the reserve side in the club’s debut year in 1995 and top premier side in 1997 and 1998.
While coaching in Canterbury, Endacott led tours of both the Junior Kiwis and New Zealand Residents. He was appointed as head coach of the New Zealand national rugby league team in 1994 and continued in this role until the end of the 2000 season. His spell as head coach included two World Cups, in 1995 and 2000.
Endacott joined the Wigan Warriors in 1999 and in the year 2000 was named Super League’s Coach of the Year.
Frank is also a well-known player agent and as been renowned for his duty of care towards his players for the last 20 years.
On December 2006 Endacott was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit, as part of the New Year Honours 2007.
To this day Frank is still involved in the game in his beloved Canterbury region and remains an invariably positive spokesperson for the sport of rugby league.
New Zealand Rugby League congratulates and thank Frank on his well-deserved recognition and years of dedication to the game of rugby league.
Justin Morgan has made the difficult decision to step away from his role as Head Coach of the Kiwi Ferns.
A change in work commitments has meant the availability of his time is no longer viable as the Ferns build towards a World Cup victory come 2021.
NZRL GM of High Performance, Motu Tony says: “Justin has done an exceptional job as Head Coach and has laid a strong foundation for the Ferns heading into World Cup year next year. It’s disappointing for us to see him step aside, however, we respect and fully understand his decision.”
NZRL thank Justin Morgan for his efforts as Head Coach guiding the Ferns to an impressive World Cup 9s championship and a convincing Test win against Fetu Samoa.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time coaching these women, the talent within the Ferns camp is outstanding and we have built some exciting momentum as a group,” says Morgan.
“Unfortunately, circumstances change and with that in mind, it would be unfair of me to maintain my position. However, I’m fully confident this group will be able to capitalise on the groundwork we have already made and see success come 2021. It’s been a privilege and thank you to NZRL for the opportunity. ”
NZRL will be advertising for a new Head Coach role in due course.
The Rugby League World Cup 2021 tournament organisers have today revealed the much-anticipated fixture schedule for what promises to be the biggest and best World Cup in the history of the sport, as the men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams all compete at the same time in a major sporting first.
New Zealand’s men’s and women’s side will be competing in RLWC2021.
The full fixture list for New Zealand is as follows:
In June, it was revealed that New Zealand’s men’s and women’s sides will be using York as their team training base.
Jon Dutton, RLWC2021 Chief Executive, said: “This is a huge moment for the tournament and for millions of fans around the world as we reveal the full fixture schedule.
“The tournament has been gaining momentum over recent months and global fans can now look forward to being part of this unique sporting event. With match dates and locations confirmed, the excitement will only intensify.
“RLWC2021 will bring together the very best that the sport has to offer, and you can see from the schedule that there is no end of world class, not-to-be-missed matches, across all three tournaments.
“We can’t wait to welcome all our competing nations and their fans to England next autumn for the biggest and best Rugby League World Cup to date.”
With 61 fixtures over a six-week period the tournament will showcase a festival of world class sporting action. The dates, venues and kick-off times for each of the three tournaments is now confirmed and available to view below and at www.RLWC2021.com
Please visit www.RLWC2021.com for more information, for details on how to sign up to receive ticket alerts and all the latest news first.
Thanks to the generosity of Sky Sport with support from OPRO and Steeden, NZRL is providing a starter pack to all kids (U6-U12) who register online to play Rugby League in 2020.
Those who register will receive a Sky Sports Starter Pack valued up to $70. This includes a Steeden Ball, OPRO Mouthguard, Kiwis and Ferns Poster and a handy bootbag. Kids who registered before the Covid-19 pandemic will also receive a Starter Pack.
NZRL staff have been working tirelessly behind the scenes packing thousands of bags that are being delivered across the country as we speak.
NZRL CEO Greg Peters says, “We know how much of a challenging time this has been and we wanted to give back to the tamariki in our communities who are readying for a return to the field.
“Thank you to our valued partners Sky Sport, OPRO and Steeden, all providing quality equipment for the packs that will go a long way with those who receive them.
“We are excited for the much-anticipated return of rugby league this weekend. Thank you once again to all those in our rugby league communities for the patience and resilience shown throughout this period.”
Upper Central Zone Rugby League is seeking applicants for two Independent Directors and two Rugby League Knowledgeable Director (knowledge of and experience in the sport of Rugby League).
All board members need to understand confidentiality, work collaboratively, possess sound judgment, have good communication and be able to demonstrate leadership ability.
Candidates who have the skill sets set out below and who can bring an element of diversity, particularly gender, to the current board mix will be looked upon favourably by the Appointments Panel.
The Appointments Panel will be assessing candidates against a range of criteria, including but not limited to:
Time commitment and term
As a guide, we expect an average time commitment of 1 to 1.5 days each month per director.
We anticipate the roles starting immediately from 13 July 2020
Terms are four years, and directors are eligible for re-appointment for one further term.
To apply for this role please click here https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MJSHKNH
The closing date for applications is 26 June 2020.
Wellington Rugby League is seeking applicants for two Independent Directors and one Rugby League Knowledgeable Director (knowledge of and experience in the sport of Rugby League).
As a guide, we expect an average time commitment of 1.5–2 days each month per director.
We anticipate the roles starting on appointment.
To apply for this role please click here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MJSHKNH
The closing date for applications is 19 June 2020.
Thanks to Innoway, NZRL are providing 1200 free hygiene packs to clubs nationwide as our rugby league communities prepare for a safe return to play come June 20th.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “We recognise the pressure our communities have been under to ensure their facilities adhere to all strict COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
“We thank our Zones, Districts and Clubs for the hard work that has already been undertaken and these packs hopefully provide a small bit of relief as well as a tick off the requirement list to ensure a safe return to the field as soon as possible.
“I’d like to thank Innoway for their generosity as well as all those in our rugby league community for their resilience and patience during this time and we look forward to the much-anticipated return of rugby league come the end of June.”
On Friday, May 29, New Zealand Rugby League will enter the ‘Prepare to Play’ phase for a minimum of three weeks, in light of yesterday’s announcement that gathering numbers permitted for grassroots sport will increase to 100 people come lunchtime Friday.
During the ‘Prepare to Play’ phase, rugby league contact and non-contact training is permitted only for clubs that can abide by the Government health and safety and gathering requirements.
Competition rugby league remains postponed during this three-week ‘Prepare to Play’ period as NZRL in liaison with the Zones and Districts aim to re-commence with competition rugby league on Saturday, June 20 (subject to change).
It is important to note the further three-week postponement of competitive rugby league provides time for players to condition their bodies from light training through to full contact, minimising risk of injury after a long hiatus, as player safety remains paramount.
NZRL also stresses the fact that clubs should not rush to return to training if they are not ready and continue to use this ‘Prepare to Play’ period to properly ensure their facility can abide by all mandatory health requirements.
These requirements include what ‘must’ be done such as contact tracing, physical distancing and hygiene and sanitation measures. Clubs will be provided with a checklist and supporting information to assist with the required return to play planning.
The ‘Prepare to Play’ period is the second phase of a three-phased approach return to rugby league; Get Ready, Prepare to Play and Return to Play. This approach is based on the Government recommendation of a considered return to community sport.
NZRL in liaison with the Zones and Districts will provide further update over the next three weeks regarding the final ‘Return to Play’ phase.
We thank you all for your continued understanding during this time and look forward to seeing our rugby league communities safely return to the field again soon.
Ever wondered how the Te Iwi Kiwi haka came about? Cultural Advisor Ora Kihi talks us through the meaning of the haka and why it has a special place in the hearts of all our Kiwis players, and their biggest supporters.
TE IWI KIWI HAKA WORDS
TUKUA TE KAWAU MARO
BATTLE FORMATION, PREPARE OF WAR,
NGA KIWI O TE AO
A call to all Kiwis of the world
Unleash the spirit within.
Prepare the post for our house.
The Maori Pou, indigenous people
Let the earth shake and ground rumble.
The Pou that links all cultures.
The God of War
TE OPE TAUA
Who is this war party
KO TE KAPA KIWI E
It is the Kiwi war party
TAU MAI TAKU MANA
I draw my power.
From the beginning of time
TAU MAI KO TE IHI
I draw my strength.
NO OKU TUPUNA
From my ancestors.
HIINEI TAKU WHARE
Here stands my House.
For I will defend it
The breath of LIFE.
NZRL is embarking on a financial modelling project to get a whole of code understanding of what the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been or may be on the sport as a whole. We want to have a much better understanding of this and particularly as it affects the grassroots game. Our priority is to work with our Zones and Districts to find the best ways to assist the sport recover as quickly as possible. This piece of work has kindly been funded by Sport NZ, and is supported by BDO.
There are a total of 26 questions (if all of them are answered). It would be useful to have your annual financial statements with you when you complete this, as well as having access to various balances at 30 April 2020. Please email your financial statements you are using to [email protected]
Whilst it may seem that some of the questions can be gathered from the financial statements we have requested, we have used this questionnaire to gather further detail that may not be broken out in all sets of annual financial statements. If you have any questions or need support with completing the survey, contact your district or zone in the first instance.
Please be assured that the strictest confidentiality will be maintained for the information you provide and it will only be used in a consolidated version that will not identify individual entities.
Your assistance with this is much appreciated and we hope the outcomes will enable us to bounce back quickly and more strongly.
Together in Rugby League.
CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE SURVEY – https://bit.ly/3gdCCvn
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi #558 and Māori Rugby League great, Rick Muru.
The Huntly born prop was a legend of Taniwharau Rugby League Club, being named in the Taniwharau Team of the First 70 Years back in 2015. He played for Waikato and the New Zealand Māori, including at the 1975 and 1977 Pacific Cups.
In 1980 Muru was selected to play for the Kiwis on their tour of Great Britain and France which he played five games for New Zealand, scoring once.
He was a valued member of the New Zealand Rugby League community both at a grassroots and international level – his contribution to the game will not be forgotten.
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of former Kiwis Captain, Kiwi #503, Tony Coll.
West Coast second-row forward for 12 years, Coll played 65 games (including 30 tests) for the Kiwis between 1972 – 1982 as well three World Cups. He famously captained the 1977 Kiwis World Cup team to beat Australia.
Coll also had a brief spell in the Canterbury Rugby League competition, playing with Marist-Western Suburbs and representing Canterbury.
Coll went on to coach the West Coast in 1986 and 1987 and was made a New Zealand Rugby League “Legend of League” in 2007.
He was a valued member of the New Zealand Rugby League community and his contribution to the game will not be forgotten.
NZRL – Level 2 GET READY (final)
With New Zealand moving to Alert Level 2 tonight, New Zealand Rugby League stresses the fact this does not mean a return to rugby league activity yet.
NZRL asks the rugby league community to adhere to a ‘Get Ready’ period for a minimum of two weeks, subject to further government update on numbers permitted for grassroots sport.
This is in light of Sport NZ today confirming that the 10-person gathering limit now applies to all community sport.
With this in mind, there will be NO rugby league activity, training (contact and non-contact) or playing permitted during this ‘Get Ready’ period.
During the ‘Get Ready’ period we recommend clubs take the time to plan the measures that need to be taken to ensure their facility is able to prepare for a safe return to rugby league.
These measures include what ‘must’ be done such as contact tracing, physical distancing & hygiene and sanitation requirements. We will release further information on the mandatory requirements in the next 24 hours.
NZRL is looking at a three-phased approach return to rugby league:
This approach is based off the Government recommendation of a considered return to community sport and is supported by all six winter codes; Basketball, Football, Hockey, Netball and Rugby Union.
We will advise in due course when we can enter the ‘Prepare to Play’ phase and what this looks like in regards to training. Timings will be subject to government updates on numbers permitted for grassroots sport.
Once again, we thank you for your patience and understanding during this time and will provide further information on the phased approach in due course.
Ngariri Nuku Lee Waitokia from Eastern Eagles Rugby League club down in Christchurch has been recognised as a standout volunteer as part of Pirteks’ – Communities through Covid initiative.
Nuku is an invaluable volunteer of the Eastern Eagles rugby league club and a woman of many roles from team manager to committee member to Club Secretary. However, it is her most recent work during this time of uncertainty which deserves some special recognition.
The harsh unemployment realities of a country in lockdown due to Covid-19 were fast approaching, and it was clear the vulnerable families in lower-income areas would be impacted the most.
So Nuku along with the newly appointed Club President (Zion Taumiti) created a Covid-19 response team made up of coaches and managers from across the club. They created a survey for each player and their families asking what their situation and main concerns were during this time.
Nuku took on the responsibility of ensuring all the administration was complete concerning the club survey. She ensured every single player and their family members were included in a database and that their needs were categorised accordingly to allow the club to act efficiently with goods, services and support.
The database totalled 60 families with as least five or more in each family from infant to elderly, about three-quarters of those who responded to the club’s survey said they needed more food and were feeling isolated.
Without her organisation, the club would not have been in a position to do the important family drops that covered all areas of Christchurch. Eastern Eagles rugby league club distributed family packages to about 30 families over 30 over Easter, which included colouring in sets and easter eggs.
“This is what Pirtek loves about Rugby League and the Rugby League community. There are always people that will go out of their way to help others, people that take a selfless approach to life in general,” says Pirtek General Manager Chris Bourke.
“In times like these, its great people like Nuku, along with Zion and the Eastern Eagles Rugby League Club, that stand out to support the community and do this without the expectation of recognition. They are simply there to help others in the Rugby League family and beyond.
“Nuku is a well deserved recipient of the Pirtek Communities Through COVID Award. Congratulations.”
Nominate someone you feel deserves some recognition here – https://nzrl.co.nz/community/ourcommunitiesthroughcovid/
Each person nominated will go in the draw to win a Kiwis merchandise prize package. NZRL in liaison with Pirtek will promote some of the best nominations on NZRL channels.
While the New Zealand Government’s announcement on guidelines for COVID-19 Alert Level 2, for if and when it is announced that the country will move to this level, is a positive step NZRL remains vigilant in the fight against the global pandemic with the health and safety of our communities remaining the number one priority.
As it stands we are still in COVID-19 Alert Level 3, therefore all rugby league activity (training or playing) remains suspended until further notice.
Under COVID-19 Alert Level 2, sporting activity can re-commence but only if strict public health and hygiene measures are in place.
NZRL, like other codes, will take the time to prepare and ensure all measures and systems are in place for a safe and structured return to play for our communities, when appropriate.
It is crucial we take the time to get this right, so New Zealand’s hard work is not at risk of being undone, and our communities feel safe and secure to play our game again.
NZRL will provide further information in due course regarding what rugby league looks like at Alert Level 2 as well as return to play timelines. What is absolutely clear is that will not be immediately following any announcement by the Government to move to Alert Level 2.
We thank you all for your patience and understanding during this time.
Primary focus on clubs and regional organisations with $15m Community Resilience Fund
Sport NZ has created a $25 million package to provide further short-term relief for organisations at all levels of sport and active recreation. The funds have been made available through savings achieved from the reprioritisation of Sport NZ’s work programme in the wake of COVID-19, as well as the drawing down on cash reserves.
Today’s announcement follows an initial package of support for Sport NZ and High-Performance Sport NZ partners announced in early April. This provided financial certainty for National Sport and Recreation Organisations, Regional Sport Trusts others, with funding commitments totalling $70 million per annum. Partners were provided with flexibility on how these funds could be used to reflect the challenging circumstances resulting from COVID-19 through until 30 June 2021.
The second tranche of support announced today has a focus on providing relief for struggling local and regional sport and recreation organisations. This relief will be provided via a $15m Community Resilience Fund.
“Play, active recreation and sport have a key role in maintaining individual health and wellbeing, bringing our communities together and keeping these communities strong,” says Sport NZ CEO Peter Miskimmin.
“It is vital that organisations at all levels of our sector remain viable and are there when play, active recreation and sport can fully resume, and we believe we have structured this relief package in a way that will maximise its benefit at all levels of the sector for the greatest possible good.”
“Clubs and regional organisations are the heartbeat of our sector but have been among the hardest hit by COVID-19, particularly through the loss of Class 4 gaming revenue and membership fees and they need support now more than ever,” says Peter Miskimmin.
The Sport NZ Community Resilience Fund opens on Monday 11 May and will be administered through New Zealand’s 14 regional sports trusts due to the strength of their networks deep into their local sport and recreation communities. Eligible organisations can apply for a maximum of $1,000 for clubs and $40,000 for regional bodies.
Also included in Sport NZ’s $25 million relief package are:
Further details on these three funds will be announced over the coming weeks.
Sport NZ also continues to provide expert business capability support to its partners in areas such as finance, human resources and technology, as well as providing free employee wellbeing services and support in accessing the Government’s COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme.
More information on new $25 million short-term relief package and Sport NZ’s wider response to COVID-19 is available at sportnz.org.nz.
Community Resilience Fund Factsheet
Check out our new Official NZ Kiwis Playlist!
This playlist is a compilation of our player’s favorite songs during the COVID lockdown period. Make sure to give it a follow.
Alistar Kata talked to Clinical Psychologist Dr Elizabeth Mati about how our Pacific people can stay mentally well during lockdown.
-For more information on Le Va’s #CatchYourself initiative: https://www.leva.co.nz/our-work/catchyourself
-Make sure you’re staying up to date with the Government’s Covid-19 information here: https://covid19.govt.nz/
-For more information on looking after your mental wellbeing: https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/
Due to the ongoing implications of the Covid-19 outbreak, New Zealand Rugby League regrets to advise that all NZRL run representative competitions and tournaments have been called off for the remainder of the year.
Community and Club competitions and trainings are still currently postponed until May 2 with that date to be reviewed in due course.
Due to the current uncertain revenue lines, these representative competitions would place too big of a financial burden on the Zones. International rugby league has also been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and NZRL has ceased all non-essential expenditure.
Greg Peters, NZRL CEO, “We are extremely disappointed that these competitions will not happen in 2020, but unfortunately, it was a decision that had to be made for the financial longevity of our game.
“Due to the extensive consequences of this pandemic across the code, we have had to make some significant short term sacrifices in order to see the game thrive long after this virus is contained.
“The impact and influence rugby league has is felt widespread both on and off the field. Although unprecedented, this decision was made fully with the longevity of our game in mind and the important role it plays within our communities.”
NZRL will provide a further update on club and community competitions in due course. Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, the focus will be on getting the grassroots game operating as quickly as possible.
Due to the COVID-19 international pandemic, New Zealand Rugby League regrets to inform that the Oceania Cup International Test matches scheduled for June between the Kiwis and Tonga Invitational XIII and the Kiwi Ferns and Fetu Samoa have been postponed.
We appreciate this is an unprecedented step being taken for international rugby league; however, due to the current travel restrictions, self-isolation requirements, and restrictions on mass gatherings, the decision has been made to cancel.
NZRL is in discussions with the APRLC (Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation) regarding potential postponement options and will continue to liaise with industry bodies, government agencies and playing groups to determine the best course of action going forward.
Greg Peters, NZRL CEO said these are unprecedented measures that had to be taken.
“With the recent announcement on mass gatherings and the unpredictability of this pandemic, the safety and well-being of our players, staff and supporters remain a priority. We are also very conscious of the current demand on some of our players due to the travel restrictions in place which we will be taking into full consideration going forward.
“Even if restrictions were to be lifted before the event date, it still is not feasible to undertake the work required now to deliver matches in June amid the current uncertainty. The best-case scenario is our calendar is postponed, depending on what the NRL season looks like the back end of the year, but of course, we cannot guarantee anything at this stage.
“We are in unfamiliar and unknown territory; collectively, we are all feeling the widespread impact of this pandemic but rest assured, we will be exploring every possible option.”
Due to the ongoing safety concerns regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, New Zealand Rugby League regrets to advise that all community rugby league competitions, tournaments and trainings run by NZRL Zones, Districts and Clubs have been postponed until Saturday, May 2nd, effective immediately.
Given the fast-changing situation, these guidelines and advice are subject to change.
Fo now, restrictions do not prevent clubs from operating on their facilities, however we urge clubs to adhere to Ministry of Health regulations in this regard; these include:
We are continuously liaising with government agencies and will continue to update you with the latest information.
We appreciate this is an unprecedented step being taken for community rugby league; however, this decision has been made solely with the safety and wellbeing of our players, staff, volunteers, whanau and the wider community in mind.
We understand this is an unfamiliar time for us all, but rest assured we are doing all we can to ensure our communities remain safe so we can return to play as soon as possible. NZRL thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work through this together over the coming weeks.
New Zealand Rugby Leagues Upper Central Zone chairperson, Megan Cleverley, is pleased to announce the signing of Midland Scaffolding & Rigging as a major sponsor for the Zone effective from April 1, 2020, through to March 31, 2021, with full rights to renew for a further one year term.
Midland Scaffolding is a Waikato Bay of Plenty based company headed by their Managing Director, Leonard “Chippy” Hunter.
“Having the opportunity to support the game of Rugby League in my local community has been an easy decision. The majority of my staff all support Rugby League so this also allows them to give a little bit back to the game,” said Hunter.
“After meeting with the Upper Central Zones Operations Manager, Hamana Amoamo, and hearing their vision to create opportunities for all our kids to wear a representative jersey, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board.”
Another huge positive for the Zone, Chippy is the father of well know local, national and international sporting identity, Honey Hireme Smiler.
Honey has agreed to become the Rugby League Ambassador for the Upper Central Zone which will add further benefits by providing guidance and advice to rugby league players, especially for the girls and young women, within the region who aspire to achieve at the level that Honey has.
“I have played a lot of sport within the Waikato Bay of Plenty area so to be able to join with my dad in supporting the aims of the Upper Central Zone in providing pathways for our youth, is a huge honor and a privilege for me. I look forward to working with everyone involved to make a difference in our communities”
Zone Chair Megan Cleverley is ecstatic that Midland Scaffolding & Rigging have decided to support the game.
“With Chippy and his company on board, this will enable us to offer children who would not normally get the chance to represent their whanau and region to take part in national tournaments.
And to have Honey agree to become our Ambassador is just the icing on the cake, we are very grateful to both Chippy and Honey”
“This partnership will remove part of the burden for families having to fund the travel and associated costs. We are extremely grateful to Chippy and look forward to working with him to benefit the community as a whole,” Cleverly concluded.
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi #443 Robert Orchard.
Orchard originally played for Ngongotaha and represented Bay of Plenty. In 1967 Orchard moved to the Ellerslie club in the Auckland Rugby League competition and became an Auckland representative. In 1968, Auckland defeated Canterbury 29-15 during Queen’s Birthday weekend.
He played for the New Zealand Māori side in 1972.
In 1973 Orchard moved to Queensland and represented the state, playing two games against New South Wales. While in Queensland, Orchard spent time with Redcliffe, Mt Isa, Mackay and Wynnum-Manly.
Orchard first represented New Zealand while at Bay of Plenty in 1965 against Great Britain and France (3-matches). He again played for the Kiwis in 1966 against Great Britain and, while at Auckland, in 1967 against Australia (2-matches), in 1970 against Great Britain (3-matches), in 1971 against Australia, Great Britain (3-matches), and France (3-matches), and in 1972 against Australia.
His contribution to New Zealand Rugby League will not be forgotten.
Brandon Smith stamped himself as a player to watch in 2020 with a stunning two-try performance to lead the New Zealand Maori to a stunning 30-16 come-from-behind victory over the Indigenous All Stars on the Gold Coast.
The Kiwi Test hooker, who plays understudy to 400-game legend Cameron Smith at the Melbourne Storm, showed his time in the shadows is clearly over with a spirited effort to snatch at Cbus Super Stadium.
Smith used his power and speed to barge through a tired Indigenous defensive line in the 70th minute, with Kalyn Ponga’s successful conversion putting the Maori ahead after they fell behind 16-12 just before three-quarter time.
Smith almost sealed the game three minutes later with another strong surge, but was denied by the bunker for a double movement.
But there was no doubting his match sealer in the 75th minute when the diminutive ball-runner burrowed between defenders to again score next to the uprights.
On a night when all eyes were on Indigenous fullback Latrell Mitchell it was Smith who stole the show as the Maori scored three tries in the final 10 minutes to run out comprehensive victors.
Smith would’ve had a hat-trick if not for Mitchell’s brilliant defence in the 56th minute.
Smith busted through the middle of the defensive line from 20 metres out and with only Mitchell to beat he tried to muscle his way past the towering fullback only to be brought down five metres short of the tryline.
Smith finished the game with 175 metres from 13 runs, five tackle breaks and four line breaks in what will be a difficult performance to top for a hooker in 2020.
Mitchell’s frustrations got the better of him with four minutes remaining when he dumped opposing fullback Ponga on the ground after the kick-off.
Not to be outdone by Smith, Indigenous lock David Fifita produced his own All Stars power moment that looked to put his team within reach of victory.
The Brisbane forward used last year’s All Star clash in Melbourne to announce his arrival on the big stage and in 2020 he repeated the effort coming up with what seemed to be the game-breaking play.
Fifita busted through two defenders on his own 20-metre line to sprint clear and then draw Ponga for flying centre James Roberts to sprint the final 40 metres to give the Indigenous team a 16-12 lead for the first time in the game.
Fifita finished with 142 metres from 12 runs and his tackle-breaking ability made him a real handful for the Maori.
While there were no headline attacking moments for Mitchell in his 67 minutes of action, there were enough glimpses of something to suggest he will be a handful in the Souths No.1 jersey in 2020.
His trademark strong fend left defenders in his wake but it became obvious from just his first game at the back opposing teams will kick the ball away from him at every opportunity to avoid facing him with a full head of steam on the kick return.
He almost produced one of the more magical moments of the night on one of the few chances to return the ball in the 26th minute, with a deft behind-the-back flick pass that would’ve given Josh Addo-Carr a 70-metre sprint to the tryline if the Storm winger had not fumbled the offload.
Addo-Carr was in everything, opening the game with a poignant moment when he lifted his jersey and pointed at his bare chest during the war cry, evoking memories of AFL Indigenous legend Nicky Winmar’s iconic gesture at Victoria Park in 1993.
Adam Blair created his own piece of history by becoming the first player to use the captain’s challenge system, however his call on a Kenny Bromwich knock on in the 65th minute was ruled unsuccessful by the bunker.
Blair finished the game by converting Dylan Walker’s final minute try as the Maori enjoyed revenge over the Indigenous outfit from last year.
By Todd Balym – As seen on NRL.com
Indigenous All Stars winger Nakia Davis-Welsh turned in a blinder to inspire a 10-4 win over the Maori Ferns after a triumphant return to the team she debuted for as a 16-year-old.
With the scores locked at 4-all in the final quarter, captain Tallisha Harden leapt high to catch a mid-field bomb by halfback Jenni-Sue Hoepper.
Davis-Welsh showed great alertness to support and then put the afterburners on to leave the Maori defenders clutching at air to score the match-winner..
Earlier Davis-Welsh had set up the first try with a freakish offload and saved a crucial try with a crunching one-on-one tackle.
The Maori started on fire and soon posted the first try when powerhouse centre Kerehitina Matua barged over early from a slick ball from half Sarina Fiso Clark.
An outstanding kicking game by Indigenous All Stars halfback Hoepper early helped her side get some repeat sets. The Maori defended with gusto and repelled several charges at their line and it took a piece of individual brilliance to crack them.
Davis-Welsh, from close range, beat five players before slipping a magic ball in traffic to dynamic centre Steph Mooka who scored wide out to level it up at 4-all at quarter time.
Indigenous five-eighth Simone Smith kicked and regathered twice to fire her side’s second quarter attack. Maori fullback Botille Vette-Welsh was placed on report for a shoulder charge on Indigenous centre Rhiannon Revell-Blair in the 20th minute as the Indigenous women made another raid.
The Maori were their own worst enemies with numerous handling errors but they scrambled well in defence with several last-ditch tackles saving the day.
A try saver by Davis-Welsh on her opposite number Kiana Katairangi was the big play of the third quarter as the teams went to the final change locked at 4-all.
Maori five-eighth Raecene McGregor had some nice touches throughout with her strategic kicking game always a threat.
Indigenous fullback Shakiah Tungai showed great bravery to defuse several kicks and the left the field early in the final quarter with a shoulder injury after being crunched by Maori prop Harata Butler.
It was left to Davis-Welsh, courtesy of a flying leap by her captain, to ice the cake for the Indigenous All Stars in a performance that showcased why she is one of the world’s most exciting outside backs in the women’s game.
Indigenous All Stars coach Ben Jeffries praised Davis-Welsh and said “I am pretty proud of her and show she has come back”.
“Obviously she’s had a pregnancy and given birth. [To play so well] is probably to be expected, because of her experience, but to do that on a big stage is very well played,” he said.
Indigenous All Stars captain Tallisha Harden said the flying winger was a real pro.
“Off the field she is real energetic and loves to have fun. On the field she is so cool calm and collected,” Harden said.
“Her family has come up and made the trip. I knew she was going to have a big game today.”
By Joel Gould – As seen on NRL.com
CCL:REVERA TDP PRESENTATION
Following on from the presentation made by CCL:Revera Director Rik Rogers at the 2020 NZRL Development camp in January, for those who would be interested in looking at a career in IT, please see below contact details should you have any queries.
This is a great opportunity to be part of an industry that is the way of the future.
Richard Maguire – [email protected]
Amy Downes – [email protected]
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is pleased to announce, OPRO, the producer of the world’s most technically advanced mouthguard, is now the official mouthguard supplier of New Zealand Rugby League.
As part of the three-year agreement, OPRO will provide every single registered player in New Zealand between the ages of 6 – 12 with a free Snap-Fit mouthguard; their entry level mouthguard that received the Queen’s Award for Innovation.
OPRO will also be the official mouthguard supplier for the World Number 1 Ranked Kiwis, World Nines Champions Kiwi Ferns and the Junior Kiwis for their international campaigns, supplying each representative player with a fitted mouthguard.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, said: “We are delighted to enter into a long-term relationship with such a trusted and quality brand such as OPRO.
“Their calibre of clients speaks for itself and we are extremely grateful for their generosity and what they are providing, not only our rugby league communities at a grassroots level but also our high-performance athletes as we set sight on the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.”
OPRO Sports Marketing Director, Daniel Lovat added: At OPRO, we’re passionate about fostering safe sport from grassroots to the elite level. As Rugby League’s number one ranked nation, we’re excited to help NZRL continue to achieve excellence into the future by providing every single player between the age of 6 and 12 with one of our award-winning mouthguards.”
The Sky Sport Rugby League Roadshow will be travelling Aotearoa this year to bring the great game of rugby league to your region.
This joint initiative between Sky Sport, New Zealand Rugby League and the Vodafone Warriors aims to make noise in the local communities about the game of rugby league and overall, encourage new player registrations.
The Roadshows will provide local league clubs with an opportunity to have a presence at each activation to connect more directly with members of the community and find their future players.
The first four Roadshows will take place on the local beach, with music, food, fun games, opportunities to learn football skills, run drills, play Kiwi Tag and rub shoulders with some of the game’s greats.
There will be plenty of giveaways and spot prizes to win on the day, as well as the chance to win a meet and greet with the Kiwis and Ferns at this year’s mid-year June test.
In addition to this, Kiwi League Kids (12 and under) who register with a club will later receive a Sky Sport starter pack which includes a brand new OPRO mouthguard, Kiwi / Ferns poster, rugby league ball and ball bag.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters, says: “We all want to see our local rugby league talent thrive and represent New Zealand at an international level.
“The community game is critical to the future of rugby league in New Zealand and we are aiming to shine a spotlight on this as the new 2020 season approaches. The Roadshow also provides us with an opportunity to identify where there’s potential for more rugby league opportunities.
“It’s exciting that we can do this as a collective with the Warriors and Sky Sport while also giving our zones, districts and local league clubs the chance to be involved.”
The Roadshows are a free event and open to all members of the community.
Gisborne | Gisborne Sound Shell | Thursday 6th February | From 12:00pm
Whakatane | Mahy Reserve | Friday 7th February | From 4pm
Mt Maunganui | Tay St Beach Reserve | Saturday 8th February | From 10am
Whitianga | Moewai Sports Park | Sunday 9th February | From 10am
The next Roadshow locations to be confirmed in due course.
Maori All Stars coach David Kidwell has selected an imposing pack to lock horns with the talented Indigenous team at Cbus Super Stadium on February 22.
The Maori side shouldn’t lack go-forward with Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Adam Blair, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, James Tamou, Kevin Proctor, Briton Nikora, Zane Tetevano and Corey Harawira-Naera among an elite crop of big men chosen.
“We wanted to have a bit of a narrative about being powerful, fast and dynamic. I think the team reflects that,” Kidwell told NRL.com.
The backline packs plenty of punch too. The dazzling Kalyn Ponga will play his natural position of fullback after struggling to impose himself on the game at five-eighth last year in a 34-14 loss.
“I think that’s where he plays his best footy, he can sweep both sides of the field, he can inject himself where he needs to,” Kidwell said of Ponga.
“Touching on that forward pack, he can sniff around for the offload. Talking to him, he’s really excited. He doesn’t have to worry about leading the team around.”
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Bailey Simonsson appear as the likely wingers, while Dylan Walker, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Brad Takairangi and Esan Marsters are centre options.
Marsters, who had off-season ankle surgery, is in doubt to play and discussions with the Cowboys medical staff about his fitness are ongoing.
Given Benji Marshall made himself unavailable for Maori selection to prepare for the upcoming NRL season with Wests Tigers, Jahrome Hughes and Kodi Nikorima will combine in the halves.
Brandon Smith and the experienced Issac Luke will share the hooking duties.
Raiders duo Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Joseph Tapine were initially named but were withdrawn.
Kidwell, who has taken over the coaching duties from Stacey Jones, is elated to be involved with such a special fixture and believes his troops can match the Indigenous team in the entertainment stakes.
“We’re going to play a bit of an expansive style of football. I thought the Indigenous team, with the experience of having played it for nine years, really caught us off guard last year.
“It’s a different concept, it’s a different way of playing football … [But] you still have to execute and have a high completion rate, so it’s about finding that balance.”
Kidwell hasn’t settled on a captain but he said incumbent skipper Adam Blair “epitomises what the week’s about.”
He added: “I’ve got some great leaders there and we’ll talk about who’s going to captain the side. But whoever does, it’s going to be a great honour.”
Kidwell considered results from an online fan poll before settling on his final squad.
In the women’s All Stars clash the star-studded Maori side will feature Kiwi Ferns Krystal Rota, Raecene McGregor and Kiana Takairangi as well as Jillaroos Corban McGregor and Botille Vette-Welsh.
Playmaker McGregor was part of the Brisbane side which stormed to victory in the NRLW grand final last October, scoring a try in the 30-6 triumph.
After playing second fiddle to McGregor in the NRLW decider, Dragons youngster Maddison Weatherall will line up alongside the Broncos star for the Maoris.
Coached by Rusty Matua the side features 10 players with NRLW experience.
Maori Women’s All Stars: Harata Butler, Sarina Clark, Tanika-Jazz Noble-Bell, Laishon Jones, Amber Kani, Kerehitina Matua, Raecene McGregor, Corban McGregor, Capri Paekau, Krystal Rota, Christyl Stowers, Kiana Takairangi, Jonsal Tautari, Botille Vette-Welsh, Maddison Weatherall, Geneva Webber, Kathleen Wharton, Kat Wira-Kohu.
Troy Whittaker – NRL.com
NRL.com has compiled a women’s Team of the Decade after input from key figures in the game including the likes of current Jillaroos coach Brad Donald, Channel Nine commentator Jo Barrett and Ladies Who League’s Mary Konstantopoulos.
The list consists of 11 Australian internationals, five Kiwi Ferns representatives and one England international.
The next decade of women’s rugby league is set to be even bigger with the 2021 World Cup kicking off at least three major international events over the next 10 years.
Contenders: Lindsay Anfield (England), Sam Bremner (Australia), Sarina Clark (New Zealand), Jodie Cunningham (England), Apii Nicholls (New Zealand)
Winner: Sam Bremner (Australia)
Australian outside back Sam Bremner edged New Zealand’s Sarina Clark (nee Fiso) for the fullback spot. A dominant 2013 World Cup campaign on debut for the Jillaroos landed her in the team of the tournament. The 28-year-old has gone on to become one of the game’s dominant players.
Bremner’s recent seasons have been hampered by injuries. She also gave birth to her first child Reef in 2019, missing all of last year’s women’s calendar as a result.
Despite that, she remained at the top of most judges lists for the coveted No.1 jersey.
Contenders: Chelsea Baker (Australia), Karina Brown (Australia), Sarina Clark (New Zealand), Amy Hardcastle (England), Hilda Mariu (New Zealand), Atawhai Tupaea (New Zealand)
Winners: Sarina Clark (New Zealand) and Amy Hardcastle (England)
Sarina Clark (nee Fiso) missed out on the fullback spot but was included on the wing given the selection dilemma around her dual battle with Bremner. Clark represented the Kiwi Ferns for more than a decade before falling pregnant prior to the 2017 World Cup.
Rated as one of the finest players in the women’s game, Clark returned to play at the elite level for the Warriors in their 2018 NRLW campaign.
England’s Amy Hardcastle nabbed the other wing spot after an impressive 10-year period that looks set to continue into the 2021 World Cup.
Despite being considered more of a centre, Hardcastle scored a treble against New Zealand at the 2013 World Cup to solidify herself as one of the more consistent finishers in the game. She was too good to leave out.
Contenders: Maitua Feterika (New Zealand), Natalie Gilmour (England), Honey Hireme-Smiler (New Zealand), Jenni-Sue Hoepper (Australia), Isabelle Kelly (Australia), Amelia Kuk (Papua New Guinea), Jessica Sergis (Australia).
Winners: Honey Hireme-Smiler (New Zealand) and Isabelle Kelly (Australia)
A dominant pair of centres chosen with Kiwi Ferns legend Honey Hireme-Smiler and Australia’s Isabelle Kelly edging a number of other worthy candidates.
Hireme-Smiler, 38, remains one of the biggest names in women’s rugby league with four World Cup campaigns under her belt and showing no signs of slowing down.
She was named player of the tournament in 2013 and went on to back up her efforts to lead the try-scorers list with 13 tries in four games at the 2017 event.
Kelly, who burst onto the scene in 2017, has enjoyed a stellar rise to the top in quick succession with her performances at the state and international level earning her the highest of accolades.
The 2018 Golden Boot winner was judged the world’s best player after her two-try heroics in the 2017 World Cup final win over New Zealand.
Contenders: Ali Brigginshaw (Australia), Jodie Cunningham (England) Georgia Hale (New Zealand), Laura Mariu (New Zealand), Karyn Murphy (Australia), Rona Peters (New Zealand).
Winners: Ali Brigginshaw (Australia) and Karyn Murphy (Australia)
Australian pair Ali Brigginshaw and Karyn Murphy are the halves. Both players enjoyed periods of dominance in green and gold.
Brigginshaw remains one of the game’s best players and was well supported by Murphy up until her retirement in 2014.
Murphy was enormous as captain for the Jillaroos in their 2013 World Cup win, while Brigginshaw was judged best player on the paddock in the 2017 final against New Zealand.
Contenders: Elsie Albert (Papua New Guinea), Heather Ballinger (Australia), Stephanie Hancock (Australia), Aieshaleigh Smalley (New Zealand), Simaima Taufa (Australia), Elianna Walton (Australia).
Winners: Stephanie Hancock (Australia) and Simaima Taufa (Australia)
Another pair of Australians lock up the front-row positions in a hotly contested field.
Brisbane Broncos prop Steph Hancock is almost an automatic choice after a dominant career in the middle.
Hancock made her Jillaroos debut in 2003 and played her 20th Test in 2018 against New Zealand.
She’s joined by NSW prop Simaima Taufa, who made her Jillaroos debut in 2014 and went on to win the Dally M medal three years later. Taufa is rated one of the game’s most consistent forwards.
Contenders: Brittany Breayley (Australia), Nat Dwyer (Australia), Lois Forsell (England), Rona Peters (New Zealand), Krystal Rota (New Zealand)
Winner: Nat Dwyer (Australia)
A rich decade of talent in the hooking role with New Zealand’s Krystal Rota providing consistency and Brittany Breayley claiming Dally M medal winner in 2018.
However, despite Nat Dwyer’s career peak probably arriving in the previous decade, she was too hard to leave out.
Starting her career in the outside backs before moving to the No.9 jersey, the sharp and creative Dwyer was part of the victorious 2013 World Cup campaign before announcing her retirement.
The player of the under 18s State of Origin annual fixture wins the Nat Dwyer Medal.
Contenders: Kezie Apps (Australia), Teuila Fotu-Moala (New Zealand), Renae Kunst (Australia), Emily Rudge (England), Ruan Sims (Australia), Kathleen Wharton (New Zealand).
Winners: Teuila Fotu-Moala (New Zealand) and Renae Kunst (Australia)
New Zealand powerhouse Teuila Fotu-Moala and retired Jillaroo Renae Kunst edge another field of strong contenders for positions in the second row.
Fotu-Moala, who was the first player suspended in the NRLW last season playing for St George Illawarra, has played in 14 Tests for the Kiwi Ferns and was part of the international side’s that lost the World Cup finals to Australia in 2013 and 2017.
Fotu-Moala was named player of the 2017 World Cup ahead of the likes of Ali Brigginshaw and Honey Hireme-Smiler.
A strong edge runner, Kunst joins Fotu-Moala in the back row after a respectful career that included captaining the Jillaroos in 2008.
Kunst retired in 2017 following the Jillaroos’ 23-16 win in the World Cup final.
Contenders: Georgia Hale (New Zealand), Laura Mariu (New Zealand), Tahnee Norris (Australia), Rona Peters (New Zealand)
Winner: Tahnee Norris (Australia)
Another case of perhaps the decade earlier having an impact here but there’s no questioning Tahnee Norris’s influence on the women’s game. Norris, like Murphy and Dwyer, was coming towards the end of her career but played a huge role in the 2013 World Cup campaign.
Kezie Apps (Australia)
NSW captain Kezie Apps went narrowly close to earning a starting spot with her inclusion on the bench well-deserved. Apps made her international debut with the Jillaroos in 2014 and went on to win the Dally M medal two seasons later.
Apps was among one of the best players in the 2017 World Cup final against New Zealand and continues to lead from the front at club and state level in Australia.
Laura Mariu (New Zealand)
Recently retired utility Laura Mariu earns a spot after a long career that spanned throughout the recent decade.
Mariu played in a record five World Cup campaigns for New Zealand between 2000 and 2018 before retiring at the end of the Warriors’ NRLW season.
She finished her career in the halves after starting out in the pack.
Heather Ballinger (Australia)
Recently retired Australian forward Heather Ballinger rounds out the 17 after an illustrious career for Queensland and in the green and gold.
She made her Jillaroos debut in 2011 and was part of the side’s World Cup campaigns in 2013 and 2017.
A no-nonsense forward, Ballinger is a member of the Federal Police away from the paddock.
Her combination with Hancock and Kunst in Queensland’s line-up helped form a dominant period for the Maroons until recent times.
The NZRL Development U18s took on the Vodafone Warriors 18s to mark the final day of the CCL: Revera Talent Development Camp for 2020 at St Peters College in Cambridge.
Big defensive efforts on display by both teams to kick off the match, but it was the Warriors that got first points on the board as centre Jeremiah Asi dives under the post off the back of a high ball. The Warriors wasted no time following up with back to back to tries to Carl Lolohea and Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro making it 12 – 0 after ten minutes.
NZRL 18s found some momentum after forcing a repeat set, a long ball to winger Jeremiah MarGraff put NZRL on the board with the score 12 – 4 at the end of the first quarter.
Warriors hit straight back in the second quarter with a try down the right edge to winger Zyon Maiu’u. NZRL soon responded as Manaia Ngataki-Matthews set up Ethan Faitaua to cross for NZRL’s second, score 16 – 8.
Rawiri Matthews extended the lead for the Warriors but NZRL quickly hit back with what looked like a spectacular try in the corner but it was not to be as the touch judge called out, the score remains 20 – 8 at half time.
NZRL start the second half was some big defensive efforts but it was the Warriors that managed to cross first taking the score to 24 – 8. Zyon Maiu’u then showed his speed down the left edge crossing over for his second bringing the score to 28 – 8.
The Warriors then extended their lead yet again off another impressive running set, shortly after Zyon Maiu’u steamrolled over for his third for the day making it 34 – 8 at the end of the third quarter, all momentum with the Warriors U18s.
Vaka Sikahele opened the scoring for the Warriors in the fourth quarter bumping off defenders to put it down under the sticks 38 – 8.
NZRL Development squad then found some momentum through the middle after a great offload from Jareny Proctor-Harwood who set up a runaway try to Riley Pascoe, score now 38 – 12.
Soon after Montel Peppard brushed off defenders to give speedster Matua Robinson a 50m run to the try line gifting NZRL their fourth try, however, the Warriors dot it down one last time before the siren making the full-time score 42 – 16.
In the end, the Vodafone Warriors 18s were too good for the NZRL Development 18s, however, players from both teams will be selected for the NZRL U18s wider squad set to be announced in the next three weeks.
There was not a cloud in the sky at St Peters College in Cambridge as the NZRL Development U16s took on the Vodafone Warriors 16s to mark the final day of the CCL: Revera Talent Development Camp for 2020.
The NZRL Development squad kicked off the points scoring with a runaway try down the right edge to Akarana centre Tre Fotu off the back of some dominant meters by the NZRL forward pack.
Handling errors by both teams saw key scoring opportunities go astray with the first quarter siren sounding 4 – 0 to the NZRL Development squad.
The Vodafone Warriors hit back, but good scramble defence by NZRL saved any scoring opportunity. More handling errors by the NZRL Development squad gifted the Warriors another chance on their goal-line; however, NZRL’s Nathaniel Tangitimaiti shutdown the crossfield kick as the score remained 4 – 0.
The NZRL development squads’ goal-line defence was nothing short of impressive saving back to back tries in the second quarter; however, a fourth handling error gifted the Warriors yet another repeat set in which they finally capitalised to bring the score to four apiece.
Wasting no time, Vodafone Warrior Paula Latuila backed up the points crossing over in the corner to make it 8 – 4. Warriors with the momentum and meters, Dorian Lotaki crashed over the try line shortly after to make it 12 – 4 to the Warriors 16s.
The NZRL Development squad then hit straight back off some dominant meters down the middle; winger Jayden Harris crossed over in the corner in the final seconds to make it 12 – 8 at half time.
Second half underway and an unlucky error under the highball gifted the Vodafone Warriors their fourth try pushing their lead out to 16 – 8. Another handling error from the NZRL development squad saw powerhouse prop Ben Peni steamroll over the line to extend the Warriors lead to 20 – 8.
NZRL’s Dallas Hurrell-Jones ran down the left edge to score for the Development squad after a clever intercept lessening the gap to 20 – 12, however, the Vodafone Warriors were quick to hit back with big metres down the middle scoring shortly after, the twelve-point gap remains, 24 – 12.
Warrior winger Paula Latuila ran down the right edge after a clever cut out pass to score his second making it 28 – 12. A good restart kick gave possession back to NZRL in which they earned a repeat set, Khalan Clyde only centimetres away from scoring before the third quarter siren. The score remains 28 – 12.
The NZRL Development squad kicked off the final quarter with a try on their first set to Samuela Vakadula making it 28 – 18. Cantebury’s Felix Fa’atili ran through the middle to score off the back of some good hit-ups from the NZRL forward pack, with teammate Dallas Hurrell-Jones crossing over in the corner shortly after for his second, making it 28 – 24 with ten to go.
NZRL Hooker Joseph O’Leary jumped on a loose ball running into open space; however, the NZRL Development squad couldn’t capitalise on the momentum. An impressive comeback was unfortunately cut short with the Vodafone Warriors U16s taking out the match, 28 – 24.
Players from both teams will be selected for the NZRL U16s wider squad set to be announced in the next three weeks. Our young Kiwi talent was certainly on display here in Cambridge and safe to say after this close-fought battle – selectors will be spoilt for choice.
Australia will meet Fiji, Italy and Scotland in Group B, while New Zealand were drawn against Ireland, Jamaica and Lebanon in Group C and Tonga play Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Wales in Group D.
In the women’s tournament, New Zealand were drawn in the same pool as Australia in a massive boost for the likes of England and PNG.
However, most interest in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace centred on which team Prince Harry picked as England’s opponents in the opening match on October 23, 2021. The match will be played at St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Tournament organisers couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome as Samoa have the potential to be a massive drawcard if Williams chooses to play for them.
The host nation narrowly lost the 2017 final 6-0 to Australia and would be expected to top their pool but Great Britain’s disastrous Southern Hemisphere tour at the end of last season and the retirement of Sam Burgess have raised concerns.
Samoa are the obvious threat but their only win since 2016 was a 24-6 defeat of PNG in last year’s Pacific Test.
It would take a stunning upset for the Kangaroos to fail to top their pool but Tonga showed what is possible by beating Australia last November in Auckland and Fiji aren’t too far behind.
The Bati have qualified for the semi-finals of the last three World Cups and will be battle-hardened by Tests against New Zealand and Tonga this year.
Scotland drew with New Zealand in 2016 and Samoa at the 2017 World Cup but its hard to see them or Italy making it out of their pool.
This is probably the most wide-open pool, with the exception of the current No.1 ranked Kiwis.
Jamaica qualified for their first World Cup by beating the USA more than a year ago, while Lebanon are likely to field a young team after the retirements of Robbie Farah and Tim Mannah from the team that made the quarter-finals in 2017.
Ireland were unlucky not to have advanced to the 2017 quarter-finals in place of Samoa and would have under the format for the 2021 tournament.
However, the results in Group C are likely to come down to which of Ireland, Jamaica and Lebanon has the best heritage players to help claim second spot.
After beating Great Britain and Australia at the end of last season, as well as New Zealand at the 2017 World Cup, Tonga are aiming to win the 2021 tournament and few doubt they are capable.
Besides Tonga, Group D is also wide open as PNG beat Great Britain at the end of last season and Cook Islands have the potential to field a strong line-up if all of their heritage players make themselves available.
Wales have been disappointing in recent seasons but the tournament being in the UK will be of benefit to the Dragons.
The Orchids, Ravens and Brasileiras would have been doing handstands after being drawn in Group A with England.
Brazil will meet the host nation in the opening game of the women’s World Cup at Emerald Headingley Stadium on November 9, 2021.
Most interest in the women’s draw was always going to revolve around which side of the draw the Kiwi Ferns were in and France and the Cook Islands now face a tough World Cup campaign.
The Jillaroos are the defending World Cup champions and also won the 2013 final but New Zealand had won every tournament before that.
Defending World Cup winners France will meet Wales, Scotland and USA in pool B.
The 2021 World Cup is the first in which the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments have been staged concurrently, with all three finals to be played on the same weekend.
Brad Walter – NRL
As seen on the Otago Daily Times
Grant Gibson is “quite excited” to gain a New Year’s honour for his contributions to rugby league on the West Coast for more than 55 years.
“It’s just nice to get recognised,” he said.
Mr Gibson (78) hoped the award would also contribute to greater community awareness of rugby league and its referring, and he highlighted the positive opportunities for people wanting to try refereeing.
Mr Gibson volunteered as a referee for West Coast Rugby League (WCRL) for 25 years, before becoming the chairman of the WCRL Referees Association, holding that post for the past 32 years.
He has also served on the WCRL board since 1976, including as vice-president since 1995.
A member of the directorate of the New Zealand Rugby League Referees from its inception in 1995, he has also remained a member of the NZRL referee training department after the directorate’s restructure.
Appointed as the West Coast co-ordinator by NZRL in the 1990s, he still travels throughout New Zealand holding referee seminars and training courses.
He has also been significantly involved in the development of youth rugby league in the West Coast.
And he is the referees co-ordinator at all Southern Zone Rugby League age-group tournaments.
Mr Gibson is a life member of the West Coast Rugby League Referees Association and West Coast Rugby League, and has received a Distinguished Service Medal from New Zealand Rugby League.
As seen on Warriors.kiwi by Richard Becht
A year in which Honey Hireme-Smiler endured the loss of her mother has ended with her contribution to rugby league being recognised in New Zealand’s 2020 New Year Honours.
The 38-year-old has been appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the code.
It comes only weeks after the Putaruru-born star led the Kiwi Ferns to glory when they shocked the much-vaunted the Jillaroos in the World Cup 9s grand final in Sydney.
Despite the on-field success, Hireme-Smiler’s year was clouded by her mother Caryn’s brave battle with cancer before she passed away in September. She kept vigil at her mother’s bedside for many weeks in Hamilton and later in Putaruru.
Hireme-Smiler and her partner Rochelle Smiler were also married, having their service at Waikato Hospital’s chapel so Caryn could witness the wedding.
Hireme-Smiler, a dual rugby league-rugby union international, has been an exceptional flag bearer for New Zealand women’s rugby league.
A Kiwi Fern since 2003, she was signed by the Warriors for their 2019 WNRL campaign but was ultimately unable to play for the club as she stayed in Hamilton to support her mother.
Also recognised in the 2020 New Year Honours for his services to rugby league was long-time West Coast referee Grant Gibson.
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) will kick off the new year with the CCL:Revera Talent Development Programme (TDP). The camp will engage nearly 125 potential Kiwi and Kiwi Ferns players, arming them with resources and skillsets necessary to fulfil their international rugby league aspirations.
The following aspiring Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns will head into camp at St. Peters School in Cambridge on Wednesday 15th January through to Saturday 18th next year.
The TDP is designed for sub-elite players to enhance their skills, strength & conditioning, as well as gain a better understanding of player welfare, all with the hope of encouraging those who dream of playing in the NRL to stay in New Zealand until they are 18. The TDP aims to better prepare the players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRL and NRLW and also doubles as a player entry point for selection in the NZ 16s and 18s wider squads for 2020.
While in camp there will be several keynote speakers who will talk to personal brand and development including educational and career aspirations, resilience, as well as other relevant subjects which have an impact on young and aspiring athletes.
Cloud Technology company, CCL:Revera has been announced as the naming rights sponsor of the TDP extending their current partnership with NZRL beyond the football field. While players are in camp, they will be introduced to different career pathways that will be complementary to their future professional careers.
Andrew Allan, CEO of CCL:Revera says, “Our partnership with Rugby League allows CCL:Revera to extend its reach beyond the try line, providing a vehicle for budding and current players to remain connected to the game through career opportunities within the IT Industry. Rugby League is close to the hearts of many of our staff and our families. So as fans of the game, we are excited that our partnership will continue to develop and grow this great game for all New Zealanders both on and off the field.”
Kiwis Head Coach Michael Maguire and Captain Benji Marshall will also be in attendance. Maguire will be running technical and tactical workshops (game preparation, video analysis, motivation and engagement) with the coaches, while Marshall will be working closely with the young halves on technical and tactical skills relevant to their positions.
NZRL will also be working in conjunction with the Vodafone Warriors who will join the camp with their 16s and 18s teams on the penultimate day attending the same sessions as the players identified for the NZRL TDP.
NZRL General Manager of High-Performance, Motu Tony says, “Being able to incorporate the development of the women’s game as well as involve legends of the sport is extremely exciting.
“These camps enable us to carry on and increase the momentum our game is seeing by preparing our player prospects and future high-performance managers and coaches for the rigours of international rugby league. We are fostering the next generation of Kiwis and Ferns as we work towards the upcoming World Cups – the future is looking bright.”
NZRL congratulate all those selected to partake in the 2020 CCL:Revera Talent Development Camp: (Note players 2019 Grassroots Club / School and affiliated Zone as per LeagueNet).
NZRL TDP 16S PLAYERS
NZRL TDP 18S PLAYERS
New Zealand 18’s Resident Coaching Staff
Head Coach – Tusa Lafaele – Counties Manukau
Assistant Coach – Eugene Davis – Upper Central
Assistant Coach – Daniel McEwan – Wellington Zone
TDP Camp Manager – Junie Shelford – Northland
New Zealand 16’s Resident Coaching Staff
Head Coach – Phil Gordon – Akarana
Assistant Coach – Peter Butler – Mid Central Zone
Assistant Coach – Alex Parker – Upper Central Zone
TDP Camp Manager – Clarissa Percival – Mid Central
The Warriors will be announcing their squads in 2020.
The 2019 NZRL Community Award recipients have tonight been announced with Taniwharau Rugby League Club taking out NZRL Grassroots Club of the Year.
Seventy-five years strong and situated in an area where the playing population is quickly diminishing, this has not hindered the growth of the North Waikato Club who have not only retained players but expanded in numbers and accolades across the park.
Taniwharau’s Premier team remain undefeated after they took out the Waikato Men’s Premiership for the third year running. The club also impressively sports a team at every age group including two female grades, who due to lack of local competition travel each weekend to compete in Auckland. Taniwharau’s U18’s Girls team, coached by Mike Wilson, reigned supreme taking out the U18’s Auckland Women’s Competition which earnt them a nomination for Sport Waikato Team of the Year and Mike a nomination for Sport Waikato Coach of the Year.
Canterbury’s Tevin Arona picked up NZRL Domestic Player of the year due to his outstanding season with the Bulls helping guide them to the NZRL Premiership final. He also Co-Captained the NZ Residents to a victory over the England Community Lions in November and represented the Cook Islands at International Nines and Test level.
Andrew Auimatagi was awarded Domestic Coach of the Year after he coached the Canterbury Bulls to their most successful season in recent time, the Linwood Keas to their third Premiership title in a row, and also the NZ Residents to their victory against England. Andrew has been a driving force within Canterbury and the Southern Zone for a number of years and continues to give back to age-grade representative teams and coaches.
Tokoroa’s Cassius Cowley was awarded U16s Player of the Year after a remarkable 2019 season that saw him captain the Vodafone Warriors 16s team, receive MVP of the 17s North Island Tournament, as well as MVP at the NZ16s test against Toa Samoa in October.
Temple Kalepo was awarded U18s Player of the Year for 2019. The Ellerslie Junior made his debut for the Vodafone Warriors Jersey Flegg and Canterbury Cup team before taking the field for the Junior Kiwis against the Australian Schoolboys. He was also named in the NZ18s squad who took on France and Toa Samoa.
Chris McMillan was awarded Match Official of the Year after he was appointed Touch Judge for all Kiwis home Test matches for the season and refereed the NZRL National Premiership final. Chris also continues to provide coaching at a grassroots level in his spare time.
The Pirtek Volunteer of the Year Awards went to Bryarn Nuku from Omahu Huia Rugby League Club and Anaru Paul from the Hamilton City Tigers after those within their communities nominated them for their selfless dedication to their clubs.
Bryarn kick-started junior rugby league at Omahu Huia Rugby League club which hadn’t seen a junior grade for more than 20 years. Her actions epitomise the Kiwi Way, from fundraising, transporting local kids to their games and paying for their playing fees. Anaru has held the Managers role at the Hamilton City Tigers for over five years, he was a part of two Waikato Premiership winning teams himself and has managed the current Waikato Men’s Premier squad for the last three years. He is described as a true gentleman and an extremely humble man who puts everyone involved in the game before himself.
NZRL CEO, Greg Peters says, “It is these people that keep our game thriving whether you’re a player, coach, referee or volunteer at any level.
“I want to thank all recipients for their dedication to what happens on the field as well as off it. These awards recognise outstanding work in our grassroots and community space and the growth of our game is a testament to them. We congratulate each recipient on their outstanding achievement.”
The NZRL High-Performance Awards will be broadcast on Sky Sport in the new year.
2019 NZRL Community Award Winners
The Southern Zone wishes to advise of the recent passing of a significant figure in rugby league and the community on the West Coast. Frank Gibson passed away on 19th November at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Dot, 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Frank was recognised as a gentleman of the highest degree, a man of principal, a quiet achiever and tireless worker who was respected by all who had the priviliege of knowing him. He had his Grey Valley community at heart and gave his time freely holding positions of office on school and sporting committees. He was President of the Ngahere Sports Club and was involved with the Ngahere sales yard and Ngahere Rugby League Club. He was a long serving member of the Waro-rakau league club.
A dedicated servant of West Coast Rugby league, he was a life member of WCRL, life member of the WCRL schoolboy board and was a schoolboy patron. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Medal by the NZRL for services to rugby league and was awarded the Grey District Mayoral volunteers award, He was NZRL Volunteer of the Year in 2010.
Frank will be remembered as a long serving groundsman of the West Coast home of rugby league at Wingham Park in a remarkable duration which spanned close to 45 years. “Frank was a legend of our game,” retired WCRL President Peter Kerridge said. “His contribution to rugby league was outstanding , especially as Wingham Park groundsman. The accolades that came his way were richly deserved.”
“Frank was immensely popular at all levels in rugby league circles and he was held in great respect and affection. We were lucky to have his services for so long and his passing is mourned throughout the game in NZ.”
The Southern Zone and all of the rugby league community of the South Island pass on its condolences to the family at the loss of a father, grandfather, great grandfather and a significant member of the rugby league community.
Sharp-eyed fans may have noticed the Sky Sport logo on the back of the Kiwi Ferns Nines jersey – well, a sponsorship and support partnership is now official between Sky Sport and New Zealand Rugby League; with a specific focus on the Kiwi Ferns, New Zealand’s national women’s Rugby League team. But the agreement goes much further with a raft of support designed to grow the game and its appeal to women and girls throughout the country.
“At the risk of repeating myself, our support for the Kiwi Ferns and women’s rugby league, is yet another example of how we’re going all out to grow and promote every aspect of women in sport in New Zealand from production and promotion through to playing and performing,” says Martin Stewart, CEO Sky.
“Women’s sport is fast gaining ground – it’s exciting, inspirational and the more we showcase how women and girls are achieving success, the more positive messages we can send about the benefits of being involved in sport.”
The agreement between Sky Sport and NZRL runs through until September 2023. The Kiwi Ferns will wear the Sky Sport logo on their jerseys and other kit whenever they represent New Zealand with all games being broadcast on Sky Sports and available through Sky Go and other Sky platforms.
Greg Peters, CEO NZRL says, “We are experiencing an explosion in the women’s game, and this high-profile partnership shines a brighter spotlight on this across all levels of the code.
“Sky’s support will provide more international playing opportunities for the Ferns as we look to carry on the momentum from this year’s outstanding World Nines win. Test football aside, Sky has come on board as an official naming rights sponsor for our new National Women’s Rugby League Competition and is also supporting our NZRL Roadshows we plan on implementing across the country next year designed to connect with and grow our younger playing generation.
“We are very much committed to growing the female game at all levels and we are extremely grateful that Sky Sport not only shares this vision but is willing to support us in such a large capacity.
Collectively, we are excited about what we can achieve and what momentum we will be able to create in the space as we work towards the 2021 World Cup.”
Kiwi Ferns Captain, Honey Hireme-Smiler, says, “We play because we love our country and we love rugby league and every girl who puts on that Black and White jersey is determined to represent New Zealand to the best of their ability. What’s awesome about this is that a partner like Sky Sport gives us more opportunity to showcase that commitment and at the same hopefully inspire the next generation of Kiwi Ferns coming through.
With this kind of support from grassroots through to the highest level of the game, Sky Sport is nailing its colours to the goalpost, says Stewart.
“We’ll grow our customer base by giving them access to the widest possible spectrum of sport. But it means more than simply whipping out a ‘chequebook’ and buying rights. We’re investing in sport itself, we’re investing in growing the game and we’re not leaving anyone behind.”
On this day in 2005
Australia lose an international series for the first time in 27 years when they are trounced 24-0 by New Zealand in the final of the Tri-Nations tournament in Leeds. The victory is the Kiwis’ first series win over Australia since 1953.
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi #324 William Bevin Keith Hough.
Hough passed away on Monday 25 November 2019 in Tauranga. He will be remembered as a New Zealand sportsman who represented New Zealand in long jump at the British Empire Games and played twelve Tests for the New Zealand Kiwis from 1950 to 1953.
Representing Auckland, Hough won the 1948 New Zealand under-19 long jump title. He went on to win the national men’s long jump championship in each of the following three years. At the 1950 British Empire Games in Auckland Hough leapt 23 ft 7 3⁄8 in (7.20 m) to win the silver medal in the men’s long jump.
Hough played rugby league for the Richmond and Papakura clubs. He represented both Auckland and New Zealand, being selected for the Kiwis from 1950 to 1953 and playing in 12 test matches. During the 1951 French rugby league tour of Australia and Zealand, Hough was selected to play for both Auckland and New Zealand at winger.
The New Zealand Kiwis have moved to number one in the International Rugby League world rankings which have been announced after the conclusion of the 2019 international programme.
The Kiwis have built on their 2018 victories over Australia and England and their recent successes against Great Britain and Tonga to take the number one position.
Tonga remain in fourth spot but their historic victory over the second-placed Kangaroos has meant that they close the gap on England who now sit in third place.
New Zealand coach, Michael Maguire said “This is a great honour and it is good to be recognised but we know that the Kangaroos hold the silverware and that is our ultimate ambition.
“The International Rugby League Oceania Cup is a fantastic development for the Kiwis and the nations in this region. It provides a meaningful competition and is a real focus for our international programme.”
Papua New Guinea is one of the big movers in both the men’s and women’s rankings. The men have been recognised for their progress in the past 12 months as they move from 10th to 6th place and in the women’s section, from 6th place to 4th.
Kumuls head coach, Michael Marum sees the rise up the rankings as a natural part of their journey saying: “The PNG Kumuls going from 10th spot to 6th spot is really good for us. We can only go higher with more international fixtures.”
Orchids coach, Bagelo Solien commented:
“Going up two spots from 6th to 4th is pleasing after two test matches and we can only get better from here. It is good for the Women’s game nationally and internationally”
Commenting on the latest rankings, International Rugby League chief executive officer, Nigel Wood said:
“Firstly, I would like to congratulate New Zealand on achieving their number one position. It is fully deserved based upon their recent excellent performances with 4 wins from their last 5 international games.
“Tonga has possibly been the story of the recent internationals and they deserve all the plaudits that they have received. They have certainly cemented their place as a genuine top four-nation and, along with other Pacific nations, throws the competition wide open for Rugby League World Cup 2021.”
Latest Rankings November 2019
New Zealand Rugby League congratulates Kiwi #779, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, on winning the prestigious IRL Golden Boot Award for 2019.
The Otahuhu Leopards junior is now recognised as the best current player in international rugby league, beating fellow Kiwis teammate Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Tonga star (and former NZ Kiwi) Siosiua Taukeiaho.
Roger is no stranger to success, the 2017 Kiwis Player of the Year was awarded the Dally M Player of the Year and Fullback of the Year in 2018, he also received Warriors Player of the Year this season, making history as the first player to win the award across three successive years.
Roger debuted for the Kiwis back in 2013 and to date has scored an impressive 14 tries in 20 tests totalling 56 points.
“I can’t think of anyone more deserving to receive such an accolade,” says NZRL CEO, Greg Peters.
“Roger has always worn the Kiwis Jersey with pride and this is reflected in his on-field performances and by his impressive and evergrowing list of accolades.
“We talk about the Kiwi Way and he completely optimises this, he acts as a role model to so many Kiwi kids not only in New Zealand but abroad and his impact on our game and those who play it is monumental.
“It’s exciting we have players of this calibre wearing the Black and White jersey and inspiring the next generation of Kiwis to come. We are extremely proud of Roger and all that he’s achieved and we can’t thank him enough for his ongoing dedication and service to the Kiwis jersey,” Peters concludes.
“Receiving this Golden award is a huge honour,” says Sheck.
“Thank you to all those who voted, the players in the shortlist are all world-class and I’m very honoured to have been considered alongside them.
“Putting on the Black and White jersey and representing my country is always a privilege and winning this Golden Boot award is a huge honour. Thank you to the IRL, NZRL and of course my family as without their love and support none of this would be possible. This year’s campaign has been one to remember, and although being away from my family was difficult, this makes it all worth it, this award is for them.”
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s key milestone achievements:
Dally M Winger Of The Year – 2013
RLIF Winger Of The Year – 2013
Dally M Fullback Of The Year – 2015, 2018
RLW Player of the Year – 2015
NZRL / Kiwis Player of the Year – 2017
Dally M Player Of The Year – 2018
IRL Golden Boot Winner – 2019
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) will kick off the new year with their successful Talent Development Programme (TDP) which for the first time will also include the development of female player prospects. 2020’s TDP will engage nearly 100 potential Kiwi and Kiwi Ferns players, arming them with resources and skillsets necessary to fulfil their international rugby league aspirations.
Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 January 2020 will see NZRL bring 25 under 16s and 25 under 18s (men) as well as 48 aspiring Kiwi Ferns (female) into camp at St. Peters School, Cambridge.
The Performance camp has been designed for sub-elite players to enhance skills, introduce strength & conditioning and promote education and player welfare, encouraging those who dream of playing in the NRL to stay in New Zealand until they are 18, allowing for an extra few years in familiar surroundings.
New Zealand has a rich talent pool with NRL clubs recruiting from across the country for both men and women. The potential pathways for New Zealand based players are ever-growing and NZRL is committed to continuing this momentum.
The three-day TDP will involve testing, wellbeing workshops, skill sessions and for the 16s and 18s boys, a trial on the final day. The TDP aims to better prepare the players for the rigours of high-performance environments such as the NRL and NRLW and will also double as a player entry point for selection in the NZ 16s and 18s wider squads for 2020.
While in camp there will be several keynote speakers who will talk to personal brand, personal development including educational and career aspirations, resilience, as well as other relevant subjects which have an impact on many young and aspiring athletes.
NZRL will be working in conjunction with the Vodafone Warriors who will join the camp with their 16s and 18s teams on the penultimate day attending the same sessions as the players identified for the NZRL TDP.
NZRL General Manager of High-Performance, Motu Tony says, “It’s exciting we have been able to incorporate the development of the women’s game into next year’s TDP. It’s important we continue to engage with our potential Kiwi Ferns from across the country and carry on the momentum the female game is currently seeing both at a grassroots and international level.
“The TDP Programme plays a crucial role in fostering and developing our next generation of Kiwis and Ferns. It readies not only player prospects but upcoming coaches and managers for the rigours of International Rugby League as we work towards the upcoming World Cups.” Tony concludes.
Greg Boulous, GM of Future Warriors says, “We are really excited to be collaborating with NZRL. We are both passionate about strengthening pathways and creating quality experiences for players. After being involved with the Kiwi Ferns it is also great to see the women included in next year’s camp.”
New Zealand Rugby League is inviting applicants to apply for the following positions with the 2020 New Zealand Resident 16s and 18s teams:
For persons applying for a role, it will be beneficial to have the endorsement and support from their General Manager of the respective District or Zone they’re representing.
Click on the below online link to fill out the questionnaire and attach your CV and cover letter.
If you have any questions or queries please contact David McMeeken; [email protected] or by phone: 021956975.
Closing date: Thursday 21 November 5pm.
Interviews are to take place on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 November 2019.
Appointment term: one (1) year plus an additional one (1) year pending campaign review.
Hours of work: These are all voluntary roles that require a commitment of some weekend work and a camp for the campaign.
Performance Camp dates:
Wednesday 15 – Saturday 18 January 2020.
Campaigns and fixtures to be confirmed with oppositions.
NZRL is pleased to announce that Australian based apparel brand, BLK, will be its official apparel provider from 1 January 2020 through to 31 December 2023.
“We are no stranger to the quality BLK provide as we have partnered with this world-renowned clothing brand in the past,” says NZRL CEO, Greg Peters.
“We are excited to be working with BLK over the next couple of years as we head into busy periods of growth for the organisation on and off the field, as well as the soon approaching 2021 World Cup.” Peters concludes.
“Three years ago BLK made a very clear brand decision to only partner with teams that create global excitement, treat all athletes equally regardless of gender and believe in the power of sport not just the business of sport,” says BLK CEO, Tyron Brant.
“It is wonderful to have the Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns back in BLK; we are excited to bring the full power of our global reach, innovation and creativity to partner with New Zealand Rugby League and grow both brands globally.”
Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL and Kiwi Ferns assistant coach Luisa Avaiki has had double success at The Trusts Sports Waitakere Excellence Awards.
Kiwi Ferns assistant coach Luisa Avaiki has had double success at The Trusts Sports Waitakere Excellence Awards.The…
Posted by Kiwi Ferns on Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Kiwi Ferns assistant coach Luisa Avaiki has had double success at The Trusts Sports Waitakere Excellence Awards.The…
Posted by Kiwi Ferns on Tuesday, 12 November 2019
The former Kiwi Ferns captain and long-time international collected the Douglas Charitable Trust Coach of the Year award and was also named the winner of the major award of the year The Trusts Supreme Award.
Avaiki again guided the Warriors in the second NRL women’s premiership. The club opened with a win over the Sydney Roosters, lost to the St George Illawarra Dragons and then stunned the Brisbane Broncos by handing them their only defeat in the competition’s first two seasons.
During the year, Avaiki was also Kiwi Ferns assistant coach when they beat Fetu Samoa 46-8 in June and again for their end-of-season campaign when they upset the Jillaroos to win the inaugural World Cup 9s title.
A dominant New Zealand performance in the second and final Test against Great Britain on Saturday night saw the Kiwis win 23-8 and secure their first series victory over the Lions in 21 years.
After emerging 12-8 winners in a dour affair a week earlier in Auckland, the Kiwis found their attacking mojo in Christchurch with returning playmaker Shaun Johnson a leading contributor, terrorising Great Britain’s makeshift left edge which included regular five-eighth Blake Austin playing on the wing.
Having run out of specialist outside back, coach Wayne Bennett named Austin on the wing following the late withdrawal of Zak Hardaker with a shoulder injury on Friday.
Another standout for the home side was Jamayne Isaako who scored 11 points via four penalties, a conversion and a late field goal.
The Brisbane winger was playing his first Test in his hometown of Christchurch with his terminally ill father Taai watching on from the crowd.
The Kiwis led 16-2 at half-time thanks to tries from Joseph Manu and Shaun Johnson, along with eight points off the boot of Isaako.
Earlier New Zealand got the scoring started thanks to a penalty in front of the posts, which came after Austin dropped a Johnson bomb and gifted them back-to-back sets with the ball.
But three minutes later Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was ruled to have taken too long to leave a tackle and Gareth Widdop locked things up with a penalty of his own.
Despite bringing in another towering bomb sent his way, Austin was promptly bundled into touch and on the next set centre Joseph Manu made the Lions pay, bouncing out of a three-man tackle to slam the ball down.
Isaako then landed two penalty goals in the space of four minutes to stretch the Kiwis’ lead to 10-2 on the half hour.
Cleary out to prove a point after being dropped from the national team for the first time in his career last week, Johnson earned a repeat set with a pinpoint long kick into the in-goal area and then produced a brilliant individual run to score New Zealand’s second.
After standing up Elliott Whitehead with some dazzling footwork the Sharks playmaker weaved his way over, with Isaako converting for a 16-2 lead at the break.
More points following in the second spell for the Kiwis, and after getting his side into attacking position with a powerful run where he broke five tackles, Ken Maumalo scored his fifth Test try with an athletic finish in the corner.
Trailing 20-2 with half an hour to play Great Britain needed something to spark them to life, and got it in the way of a late Josh Jones offload which resulted in a try to Josh Hodgson.
Widdop converted to reduce the deficit to 12, but hopes of building momentum were thwarted when Alex Walmsley dropped the ball 10 metres off the Lions’ line on the very next set.
Great Britain were twice denied tries by video referee Henry Perenara inside the final 20 minutes.
First John Bateman was found to have missed the ball on a desperate effort to ground it before the dead ball line, before Jake Connor was ruled to have knocked on in the lead up to a would-be try nine minutes from time.
With any hope of a comeback now lost, Great Britain were dealt one final blow when Isaako slotted a field goal and another penalty to stretch the final deficit.
The Lions have little time to lick their wounds, with a clash against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby awaiting them next Saturday.
Shaun Johnson and Brandon Smith have been recalled by the New Zealand Kiwis for Saturday’s second Test against the Great Britain Lions at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch (8.00pm kick-off).
Johnson comes back in at standoff replacing the injured Kieran Foran while Smith, stood down last week, returns at hooker as the Kiwis seek a series-clinching win after taking out last Saturday’s first Test 12-8 at Eedn Park.
Kodi Nikorima, brought in at the 11th hour to replace Smith, moves to the interchange after his heroic performance in Auckland.
Despite arriving in camp late on Friday night and not training with the side, Nikorima was on the field for 76 minutes, making a game-high 53 tackles.
In another change, rookie international Corey Harawira-Naera is named in the second row for Kenny Bromwich, who returned to Melbourne on Sunday to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. Bromwich is on an extended bench should he be able to return in time for the second Test.
Added to the bench in Harawira-Naera’s place is the experienced Kevin Proctor.
The Kiwis go into the contest hunting their first series victory against Great Britain since 1998.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS v GREAT BRITAIN LIONS
8.00pm, Saturday, November 9, 2019
Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS
(Gold Coast Titans)
HEAD COACH | MICHAEL MAGUIRE
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | GREAT BRITAIN LIONS SERIES
A rousing half-time speech from coach Michael Maguire seemed to do the trick as New Zealand defied the loss of Kieran Foran to hand Great Britain their second defeat in a row on their southern hemisphere tour with a 12-8 win at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.
Maguire was seen on the dressing room cameras having a highly animated discussion with his players after a try-less first half. The message obviously hit the mark with the Kiwis executing a little better in the second, even though errors did creep in at times.
Wayne Bennett’s men couldn’t come up with the plays to break the Kiwis line often enough, although a try late in the second half to move them within four points made for a nail-biting finish.
But when Lions winger Jermaine McGillvary lost control of the ball over the line, after a bone-jolting tackle by Kenny Bromwich, the fight faded in the Great Britain side.
After a 14-6 loss to Tonga a week ago, the Lions now look toward Christchurch next Saturday (November 9) for a second crack at New Zealand.
The Kiwis suffered an early blow losing five-eighth Foran in the sixth minute to a dislocated shoulder. He was third man in for a regulation tackle on Great Britain lock James Graham.
Foran came out of the tackle clutching his left shoulder and after being attended to by a trainer, he left the field in a fair degree of pain. He returned to sit on the sideline with his arm tucked up inside his warm-up jacket.
Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes came off the bench and joined Benji Marshall in the halves.
The Kiwis had already had disruption to the playing group with hooker Brandon Smith dropped from the starting line-up for failing to “meet team standards” according to former Kiwis winger and now Sky Sports television commentator Daryl Halligan.
The Kiwis drafted in former Broncos and now Warriors half Kodi Nikorima in the No.21 jersey on Saturday morning. He went straight into the No.9 role without the benefit of a captain’s run.
Despite all the upheaval, New Zealand opened the scoring with a Jamayne Isaako penalty in the seventh minute after Josh Hodgson was pinged for slowing down the ruck. Gareth Widdop replied for Great Britain and the score remained 2-2 until the half-time whistle.
A break upfield by Joey Manu, who had Marshall in support, looked like producing the first try of the game in the 39th minute. But the movement broke down inside the Lions’ 10-metre zone.
In the second half, the man most likely to do something did it when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck broke through two defenders, tried to step fullback Jonny Lomax, but still managed to get the ball to Isaako who ran unchallenged to the line.
It sparked something in the Kiwis camp as it looked like they’d scored again two minutes later, when Briton Nikora chased through a Marshall kick. But replays showed he had knocked on in the lead-up.
They didn’t have to wait long though as bench forward Corey Harawira-Naera jostled with four defenders before grounding the ball under the posts. Isaako hadn’t converted his own try but didn’t miss this time and it was 12-2.
Tempers flared twice in the second half with players clashing – first when Joe Tapine was penalised for a late tackle on James Graham and then Tuivasa-Sheck was penalised for pushing John Bateman.
But still the Lions couldn’t score off the two extra sets given to them.
Interchange forward Daryl Clark did barge his way over in the 68th minute after spinning out of Manu’s tackle and with Widdop’s conversion suddenly things got more interesting at 12-8. In the end it wasn’t enough.
Long-time Kiwis servant Adam Blair got to celebrate his 50th Test in style after leading the team out onto the park and giving a spine-chilling version of the Haka.
Senior Reporter NRL.com
A spine-tingling haka and a stand off set the tone for the much-anticipated match between the Community Lions and NZ Residents. It took 20 minutes to get the scoring underway as Connor Dwyer ran a clean line untouched through the Residents goal line defence to put first points on the board for the Community Lions.
The NZ Residents however hit straight back capitalising on an offside penalty as co-captain Francis Leger went over to give the home side their first points making it six a piece with 15 to go.
There were some big defensive displays by both teams throughout the half and for the majority, both teams were evenly matched in the middle, however, the Kiwis gained the upper hand and steamroll over the line in the last five to make it 12-10 at the break.
Moving into the second half the NZ Residents displayed their dominance and scored two tries within the first 10 minutes. The first two tries were scored by Simon Luafalealo, and Penitito Llalio respectively.
The English Community Lions proved they couldn’t be caged and bit back scoring a try as a result of the NZ Residents giving away a crucial penalty on their goal line.
Co-captain Tevin Arona scored the final try of the match securing the win and effectively taming the English Community Lions 28 – 12.
New Zealand Rugby League is saddened to hear of the passing of Kiwi #409 Ken Mccracken.
Mccracken passed away early Monday morning from Metastatic Prostate Cancer, he was lovingly cared for by his wife Faye.
McCracken played for the Ellerslie Eagles club in the Auckland Rugby League competition, and also played for Ellerslie’s combined district team Eastern United. He was an Auckland representative and played in seven test matches for New Zealand. He was first selected for New Zealand for their 1961 tour of Great Britain and France and again played on their 1963 tour of Australia and in 1964 home matches against France.
He was extremely modest in his rugby league achievements and shared the field with several immortals of the code. His son Brett Mccracken recalled Ken’s proudest moment was being part of the World Champion Kiwi team which won the Courtney Goodwill Trophy 1960-1965.
New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the following players have been selected to take on the England Community Lions tomorrow night at Trusts Stadium in Auckland.
This Residents squad is made up of the best from the NZRL National Men’s competition, many of whom have already achieved professional or international rugby league success.
Co-Captain Tevin Arona represented the Cook Islands in the recent Rugby League World Nines competition following a stand out season for Canterbury in the NZRL Premiership. David Bhana is no stranger to the professional league, before his retirement due to injury two years ago, he captained the Warriors U20s, the Junior Kiwis in 2013, was named in the NRL 20s team of 2013, played professionally for the Newcastle Knights and has also represented NZ Māori.
Akarana playmaker, Aiden Ackland, has played 33 times scoring 62 points for the Warriors Jersey Flegg / Holden Cup team and Head Coach Andrew Auimatagi, coached the Canterbury Bulls to the NZRL 2019 Premiership final this year and also doubled as Linwood Keas’ Head Coach, guiding them to victory three years running.
This sought after fixture will be the closing bout of the first-ever England Community Lions tour down under. The game is set to kick of 6:30pm and will be televised live on SKY Sport.
The side is Co-Captained by Akarana’s Francis Leger and Canterbury’s Tevin Arona.
This weekend is jam-packed with New Zealand Rugby League action at all levels, as the Residents take on the England Community Lions tomorrow night closely followed by the much-anticipated clash between the Great Britain Lions and Kiwis on Saturday 2nd November. The Kiwis and the NZ Residents enjoyed an opposed training session earlier in the week.
Adam Blair will achieve the rare honour of playing 50 Tests while Kieran Foran will make his first international appearance in more than two years when the New Zealand Kiwis meet the Great Britain Lions in the first Test at Eden Park on Saturday (5.00pm kick-off).
Veteran Northland-born and raised Blair (33) will become only the ninth player in history – and just the second New Zealander after Ruben Wiki – to reach the 50-Test milestone.
Blair seemed set to be stranded on 48 Tests after missing selection for the mid-year clash against Mate Ma’a Tonga and initially being overlooked for the end-of-season internationals against the Kangaroos and the Lions.
However, the 311-game NRL forward came into the squad as an injury replacement for the World Cup 9s in Sydney and earned a Test recall for the Oceania Cup match against the Kangaroos in Wollongong last Friday night.
Canterbury-Bankstown play maker Foran (29) returns to the Test stage for the first time since May, 2017, partnering captain Benji Marshall in the halves. Replacing Shaun Johnson, he will be making his 22nd appearance for the Kiwis since his debut 10 years ago.
In other changes to the side which lost 4-26 to Australia, Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire has moved Sydney Roosters middle forward Zane Tetevano into the starting front row after he made his debut from the bench last Friday night. Vodafone Warriors prop Leeson Ah Mau is switched to the bench.
Canberra back rower Joseph Tapine, who served a one-game suspension last week, is recalled to start at loose forward in his 11th Test with Blair now on the bench and Braden Hamlin-Uele, one of four debutants against Australia, moving out of the squad. Melbourne utility Jahrome Hughes and Canterbury-Bankstown back rower Corey Harawira-Naera complete the interchange.
This Saturday’s match will be the Kiwis’ first against the Great Britain Lions since a three-Test series in England in 2007.
It will be the second leg of an international triple header at Eden Park. It kicks off with a second-tier Oceania Cup match between Toa Samoa and Fiji Bati (2.20pm kick-off) with the Kiwis v Great Britain encounter followed by the Kangaroos taking on Tonga International (7.40pm kick-off). The Tongans come into the match after stunning the Lions 14-6 in Hamilton last Saturday.
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50 TEST APPEARANCES
(in chronological order)
Jim Sullivan (Wales, England, Great Britain) 1921-1934 | 54 internationals
Mick Sullivan (England, Great Britain) 1954-1962 | 50 internationals
Ruben Wiki (New Zealand) 1994-2006 | 55 internationals
Adrian Morley (England, Great Britain) 1996-2012 | 53 internationals
Darren Lockyer (Australia) 1997-2011 | 59 internationals
Petero Civoniceva (Australia, Fiji) 2001-2014 | 51 internationals
Cameron Smith (Australia) 2006-2017 | 56 internationals
James Graham (Great Britain, England) 2006-2019 | 50 internationals
5.00pm, Saturday, November 2, 2019
Eden Park, Auckland
Damien Cook celebrated his homecoming by spearheading a new-look Kangaroos side to a 26-4 win over New Zealand in front of 18,104 fans at WIN Stadium on Friday night.
Cook, who grew up at Helensburgh and was a member of Stanwell Park Surf Lifesaving Club, broke the Kiwis’ hearts with a 70-metre intercept try midway through the second half and used his speed from dummy half to put James Tedesco over to seal the win.
It was a clinical performance by the Kangaroos to avenge last year’s Test loss to New Zealand in Auckland and put them in the box seat to secure the inaugural Oceania Cup Trophy if they can beat Tonga next Saturday at Eden Park.
In some ways the Kiwis could feel they were unlucky as two of Australia’s first three tries were scored from intercepts but they didn’t create enough opportunities to seriously trouble Australia.
With the Kiwis missing props Jesse Bromwich, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and James Fisher-Harris, it was no surprise that Australia fancied their chances in the middle and Kangaroos coach Mal Meninga chose two front-rowers on the bench.
Canberra prop Josh Papalii, the only survivor from Meninga’s first Test team in 2016, was a powerhouse, despite carrying a rib cartilage injury into the game.
Papalii ran 80 metres from seven carries with the ball in his first 23-minute stint before being replaced by Payne Haas.
One of five debutants in the Australian team, Haas is the youngest forward to wear the green-and-gold jersey since Brad Fittler in 1990 and he made a stunning first-up impression as he carried the ball for 102 metres from just seven runs before half-time.
By the end of his 37-minute stint, 19-year-old Haas had ran the ball for 174 metres from 13 carries – the most by any forward on either side.
David Klemmer ran the ball for 154 metres, while Papalii finished the game with 145 metres and interchange prop Paul Vaughan, another debutant, ran for 120 metres.
The Kangaroos posted first points when centre Latrell Mitchell landed an eighth minute penalty goal and they looked set to go further ahead after Papalii put Jake Trbojevic over in the 15th minute but the Manly lock knocked on.
Kangaroos second-rower Tyson Frizell then put the home side further ahead in the 27th minute when he stepped Marshall after receiving the ball on the New Zealand tryline and dived over to score.
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad got the Kiwis on the scoreboard when he powered over out wide after Roger Tuivasa-Sheck chimed into the backline from a 35th minute scrum win but it was the only points New Zealand managed all night.
Their best scoring chance in the second half came in the 54th minute as the Kiwis threw the ball around near the Australian line but Cook struck a huge blow when he intercepted an Adam Blair pass and ran 70 metres to score.
Cook was at his electrifying best again five minutes later when he burst out of dummy half and exposed some tired marker defence before finding James Tedesco to score under the posts.
Trbojevic had another try disallowed late in the match and a 76th minute Daly Cherry-Evans penalty goal completed the scoring.
Ali Brigginshaw helped guide the Australian Jillaroos to a 28-8 victory over the Kiwi Ferns at WIN Stadium.
The Kiwi Ferns had all the running early but couldn’t convert territory into points with a try-saver from Tiana Penitani highlighting the Jillaroos’ defensive attitude in the opening stages.
A treble of penalties relieved pressure for the Australians and it didn’t take long for Brigginshaw to strike with a weaving run before finding Tallisha Harden in support.
The Jillaroos went over for their second within minutes with Brigginshaw regathering her own short kick – New Zealand fullback Apii Nicholls conceding a penalty try in the process for reach out with her leg.
Australia’s momentum continued with a slice of luck from the scrum base with debutante Kirra Dibb placing a 40-metre kick down-field which landed perfectly in the hands of Sergis to score under the posts.
An error from the Jillaroos at the kick restart opened the door for the Kiwi Ferns to get on the board midway through the first half with Maitua Feterika continuing where she left off from the NRLW to steamroll her way over from close range.
A penalty goal to the Jillaroos on the stroke of half-time enabled the home side to take a 18-4 lead into the break.
Honey Hireme’s battle with Sergis was one-way in the opening half but the Kiwi Ferns veteran returned serve three minutes after the interval to finish off a sharp backline movement.
New Zealand were denied another try-scoring chance when Hannah Southwell pulled off a miraculous saver on Raecene McGregor close to the line.
Local girl Keeley Davis went close for the Jillaroos at the other end of the field but was ruled held up as the scoreline remained a 10-point difference for most of the second half.
The Kiwi Ferns lost Nita Maynard to a head knock and the Jillaroos had woes of their own when Penitani spilt a ball with the line wide open with 16 minutes remaining.
Australia wrapped up the result through another local, Shellharbour’s Shakiah Tungai, who converted her own long-range special near full-time in front of a strong crowd of 8184.
Written by Tony Smith for Stuff.co.nz
The Canterbury Bulls are buzzing ahead of the greatest challenge of their careers against a Samoa national team brimming with NRL stars such as Manly’s ex-Kiwis prop Marty Taupau.
Toa Samoa plays the Bulls at Christchurch’s Nga Puna Wai stadium on Friday night in a warm-up to their Oceania Cup clash with Fiji at Eden Park.
Canterbury coach Andrew Auimatagi said it would be the biggest game most of the Bulls would play and was particularly exciting for nine Bulls players “and myself” with Samoan heritage.
Bulls centre Matt Sauni, who was born in Christchurch but grew up embracing his Samoan culture, can’t wait to get a chance to tackle a team containing Taupau and other NRL regulars such as Canberra Raiders grand final centre Joey Leilua, Dragons centre Tim Lafai, Manly wing Jorge Taufua, Warriors prop Bunty Afoa and New Zealand-born Newcastle Knights Danny Levi and James Gavet.
“It’s really good to play against a team that you’ve always wanted to play for, but there will definitely be mixed emotions,” Sauni said.
“They will definitely test us out, mentally and physically.
Many visiting players were in the Samoa squad which made the semifinals at last weekend’s World Cup Nines tournament in Sydney.
Sauni said it was an honour to play against a team “stacked with NRL players”.
The 28-year-old is joined in the Bulls squad by his brother Erwin, with brothers Jiordan and Thoren Fidow-Kele, Danny Latu, Caius Fa’atali, Ben Ilalio, Roger Tafua and Alani Kakoi other players with Samoan heritage.
Fa’atali, a Year 13 student at St Thomas of Canterbury College got a chance to see Taupau and some of teammates first-hand on Thursday morning when a Toa Samoa contingent visited his school, where coach Auimatagi teaches.
“It’s really special just to have the Samoan players in Christchurch,” Auimatagi said.
“Like I said to our boys, ‘they are probably the first Samoan rugby or league team to play in Christchurch, so you are part of history’.
“Our families are all very proud.”
The Bulls lost the national provincial premiership grand final after finishing the round robin with three wins to earn a home final, and they also beat a touring New South Wales Country team 17-16 after a late field goal by loose forward Michael Butson.
Auimatagi has total faith in the character of his team, but admits it will be a step up against a Samoan side comprising fulltime professionals.
“It’s just the fact it’s their job and their bodies are well used to the physical demands [of the NRL]. Rugby league is a simple game, but they are just used to playing at a higher intensity.
“Our guys need to do their best and do the simple things well and try and stay with them and maybe surprise them a few times.”
While the odds are heavily weighted in favour of Samoa, Auimatagi said the Bulls could draw inspiration from one of their own. Canterbury co-captain Tevin Arona was part of a Cook Islands team which upset Tonga at last weekend’s World Cup Nines.
Auimatagi has also reminded his players that “Lebanon beat England, so it cn be done”.
Arona was “pretty banged up” with a sore shoulder after the Nines tournament and may have to be managed carefully against Samoa. He is one of six Bulls in the New Zealand Residents team, coached by Auimatagi, which will play an England XIII in Auckland next Friday.
The Samoan team are coached by former NRL players Matt Parish and Geoff Toovey.
Canterbury Rugby League chief executive Duane Fyfe said Samoa were the first international team to play Canterbury for 15 years, since Russia in 2004.
“A South Island selection played France a few years before that.”
Canterbury has had success against international teams in the past, beating France 24-12 in 1955 and Great Britain 18-10 in 1990.
AT A GLANCE
Canterbury Bulls v Toa Samoa
When: 7.30pm, Friday
Where: Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch.
CANTERBURY BULLS: Jordan Coleman, Ben Ilalio, Matt Sauni, Jope Tagicakibau, Regan Stanton, Tevin Arona (co-capt), Brad Campbell, Alex Todd (co-capt), Alani Kakoi, Jiordan Fidow-Kele, Danny Latu, Caius Fa’atili, Michael Butson. Interchange (from): Justin Lynch, Thoren Fidow-Kele, David Tongo Tongo, James Baxendale, Vinnie Paul, Erwin Sauni, Roger Tafua, Rangi Thompson. Coaches: Andrew Auimatagi, Jed Lawrie, Jamie Lester.
TOA SAMOA: Tim Lafai, Joey Leilua, Jorge Taufua, Brian Too, Jarome Luai, Danny Levi, Lalotoa Mata’afa, Marion Seve, Junior Paulo, Dunamis Lui, Marty Taupau, Moses Leota Luciano Leilua, James Gavet, Bunty Afoa, Michael Chee Kam, Ligi Sao. Coaches: Matt Parish, Geoff Toovey. Coaches: Matt Parish and Geoff Toovey.
Head Coach Justin Morgan has named two debutantes for the much-anticipated Test match against the Jillaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 (5.40pm kick-off local time; 7.40pm NZT).
Prop Billie-Jean Ale and Centre Jules Newman will both play their first Test match for New Zealand after standout seasons at the Warriors this year.
Ale has been in the game for 19 years, representing Mt Albert in the Auckland Premiership, Akarana at a provincial level, as well as the Warriors in the inaugural NRLW Premiership.
She was first named in the Kiwi Ferns’ wider squad for the 2008 World Cup but never took the field. In the meantime, she represented Fetu Samoa in 2011 and again in this year’s one-off Test against the Kiwi Ferns in June. Eleven years later, she will finally run out in the Black and White.
Newman was named in the Ferns’ wider test squad earlier in the year and impressed at the World Nines scoring a crucial try in the 17-15 victory over the Jillaroos.
After a standout introductory year to rugby league she will play her first test match for the Kiwi Ferns tomorrow.
Also running on in the centres will be the much-decorated Kiwi Ferns Captain, Honey Hireme-Smiler, who first donned the Kiwi Ferns jersey 17 years ago.
2019 World Nines Women’s player of the tournament, Raecene McGregor will run out in the halves alongside Warriors playmaker Charntay Poko.
Sydney Roosters’ winger Kiana Takairangi, who scored a double on debut for the Ferns in June, will look to carry on her impressive form alongside Sydney teammate and experienced hooker Nita Maynard.
Warriors speedster Atawhai Tupaea makes her return to the Black and White, as well as St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower, Maitua Feterika.
“This is what we have been building towards and I know the girls can’t wait to get out there,” says Morgan.
“The Nines was a good confidence boost but we know what lies ahead. The Jillaroos are a top-quality side and they will bring their best game, but we have the team to rise to the challenge. We are lucky to have a couple of returning faces, determined debutantes and players with years of test match experience. All in all this team is full of passion and pride for their country so I have no doubt this will shape up to be a great test match.”
NEW ZEALAND KIWI FERNS | AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND TEST
1 Apii NICHOLLS (Warriors)
2 Kiana TAKAIRANGI (Roosters)
3 Honey HIREME-SMILER (C) (Warriors)
4 Jules NEWMAN (Warriors)
5 Atawhai TUPAEA (Warriors)
6 Charntay POKO (Warriors)
7 Raecene McGREGOR (Broncos)
8 Annetta-Claudia NUUAUSALA (Warriors)
9 Krystal ROTA (Warriors)
10 Amber HALL (Broncos)
11 Onjeurlina LEIATAUA (Warriors)
12 Crystal TAMARUA (Warriors)
13 Georgia HALE (Warriors)
14 Nita MAYNARD (Roosters)
15 Teuila FOTU-MOALA (Dragons)
16 Billy-Jean ALE (Warriors)
17 Maitua FETERIKA (Dragons)
18 Madison BARTLETT (Warriors)
19 Kanyon PAUL (Warriors)
20 Aieshaleigh SMALLEY (Warriors)
The New Zealand Rugby League has expressed its sadness and extended its sympathies to former Kiwi coach Brian McClennan and his family following the tragic loss of ex-New Zealand international Mike McClennan.
McClennan’s body was found near Hatfields Beach last night after he had gone missing from a rest home in Orewa last Wednesday.
“This is terribly sad for Brian and the McClennan family as well as our rugby league community,” said New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters.
“We are all feeling for the family at this time, especially in a week when the Kiwis are about to play the Kangaroos.
“Mike had the deepest passion for rugby league. He was a proud Kiwi international and went on to achieve so much as a coach both in New Zealand and in England.
“We pass on our deepest sympathies.”
McClennan’s only Test for the Kiwis was one of the greatest in New Zealand’s history – the stunning 24-3 win over Australia at Carlaw Park in 1971.
He then made the history-making tour to Great Britain and France later that year when the Kiwis won both Test series in England and France.
The outspoken McClennan (Kiwi #488) went on to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and innovative coaches.
He dominated the Auckland club scene in the 1980s achieving multiple Fox Memorial premiership triumphs with the Mount Albert Lions and Northcote Tigers before coaching St Helens in England from 1990-1993.
As well as being an assistant Kiwi coach during Graham Lowe’s reign in the 1980s, McClennan coached Tonga at the 1995 Rugby League World Cup when the Tongans came within one point of stunning the Kiwis.
Following the Kiwi Ferns’ spectacular Rugby League World Cup 9s victory over the Jillaroos, head coach Justin Morgan has named a largely unchanged squad ahead of the much-anticipated Test match against the Jillaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 (5.40pm kick-off local time; 7.40pm NZT).
Returning Kiwi Ferns veteran and St George Illawarra Dragons second rower Maitua Feterika comes into the fold due to the in-doubt Aieshaleigh Smalley, who picked up an ankle injury at the nines.
Warriors hooker Kanyon Paul has also been named after her standout debut performance over the weekend after she replaced the unavailable Lavinia Gould.
Powerhouse props Annetta Nuuausala (Warriors) and Amber-Paris Hall (Brisbane Broncos) will be hungry to take the field after supporting from the sideline throughout the weekend’s tournament.
Also determined to be involved will be Warriors forward Billy-Jean Ale and centre Jules Newman. Ale was named in the Kiwi Ferns’ wider squad back in 2008 but has yet to take the field in the black and white although she represented Fetu Samoa in 2011 and again in this year’s one-off Test against the Kiwi Ferns in June.
Warriors centre Jules Newman was named in the Ferns’ wider Test squad earlier in the year and will be eager to make her Test debut against the Jillaroos after a strong performance at the World Cup 9s.
“We are coming off a high after the Nines victory but know the biggest challenge is still ahead,” says Morgan.
“The Jillaroos will come out firing but so will we. We are really lucky to have a team of this calibre who will be up for the challenge. This is a new week and the intensity has lifted, everyone is eager to get back out there.”
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NEW ZEALAND KIWI FERNS | AUSTRALIA v NEW ZEALAND TEST
1 APII NICHOLLS (Warriors)
2 KIANA TAKAIRANGI (Roosters)
3 HONEY HIREME-SMILER (c) (Warriors)
4 JULES NEWMAN (Warriors)
5 ATAWHAI TUPAEA (Warriors)
6 CHARNTAY POKO (Warriors)
7 RAECENE McGREGOR (Broncos)
8 ANNETTA-CLAUDIA NUUAUSALA (Warriors)
9 KRYSTAL ROTA (Warriors)
10 AMBER-PARIS HALL (Broncos)
11 ONJEURLINA LEIATAUA (Warriors)
12 CRYSTAL TAMARUA (Warriors)
13 GEORGIA HALE (Warriors)
14 NITA MAYNARD (Roosters)
15 TEUILA FOTU-MOALA (Dragons)
16 BILLY-JEAN ALE (Warriors)
17 MAITUA FETERIKA (Dragons)
18 MADISON BARTLETT (Warriors)
19 KANYON PAUL (Warriors)
20 AIESHALEIGH SMALLEY (Warriors)
Four debutants including starting centre Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad have today been confirmed to line up for the New Zealand Kiwis in Friday night’s Oceania Cup Test against the Kangaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Nicoll-Klokstad (24) is one of four changes to the starting line-up used in the Kiwis’ 34-14 win over Mate Ma’a Tonga in June.
With Roger Tuivasa-Sheck at fullback, the Canberra custodian replaces the injured Esan Marsters while Jamayne Isaako comes in for injured captain Dallin Watene-Zeleniak on the right wing, Leeson Ah Mau starts in the front row for Jesse Bromwich, out with a foot injury, and veteran Adam Blair comes into loose forward for Isaac Liu (knee).
Nicoll-Klokstad apart, the other debutants are all on the bench – forwards Zane Tetevano, Braden Hamlin-Uele and Corey Harawira-Naera. They fill vacancies created by Ah Mau moving into the starting line-up plus Nelson Asofa-Solomona being suspended and James Fisher-Harris injured.
Benji Marshall (34), playing just his second Test since 2012, has now been recalled as captain seven years after last filling the role against the Kangaroos in Townsville. This will be his 20th match as captain, taking him clear of Gary Freeman for the record for the most Tests as Kiwi captain.
Blair also has a milestone in sight despite not being originally selected. He was called up as a replacement for the World Cup 9s last week, going on to play in the final.
His appearance on Friday night takes him to 49 Tests with the chance of becoming just the second New Zealander to play 50 Tests in Saturday week’s first Test against the touring Great Britain Lions.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS v AUSTRALIAN KANGAROOS
8.10pm, Friday, October 25, 2019
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Four months after making his international comeback following a seven-year absence, halfback Benji Marshall will now captain the New Zealand Kiwis for the first time since 2012 in a record 20th Test as skipper in Friday night’s Oceania Cup match against the Kangaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Head coach Michael Maguire announced the appointment in Sydney today as the Kiwis began their preparation for the encounter after Saturday night’s loss to Australia in the World Cup 9s tournament.
Marshall wasn’t used in the short-form game to prepare for the end-of-season Test campaign which continues after this week’s match with two clashes against the Great Britain Lions in Auckland on November 2 and Christchurch on November 9.
He replaces the unavailable Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who led the Kiwis in their last five Tests against Australia, England and Tonga.
Marshall’s 29th Test since his debut in 2005 will take him ahead of Gary Freeman for the most Tests as Kiwi captain. They were level on 19 after Marshall was captain in the 10-18 loss to the Kangaroos in Townsville in October, 2012.
The 26-year-old Whakatane-born standoff led the Kiwis for the first time when he stood in for an injured Nathan Cayless against England in Newcastle during the triumphant 2008 Rugby League World Cup campaign.
When Cayless retired from representative football in early 2009, coach Stephen Kearney gave the captaincy to the then 24-year-old Wests Tigers playmaker.
A hat-trick from the player of the tournament Mitchell Moses helped Australia overcome New Zealand 24-10 to claim the inaugural men’s World Cup 9s title.
After a weight of possession, New Zealand crossed first when Reimis Smith athletically touched down in the corner courtesy of a brilliant bat-on by Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Australia briefly hit the front through a converted Moses bonus zone try but Kiwis winger Jamayne Isaako responded straight away with his seventh try of the competition and the ensuing sideline goal.
However, the brilliance of Eels halfback Moses put the Kangaroos ahead 13-10 at half-time as he burnt the defence to notch another four-pointer on his home turf.
Kyle Feldt powered over for a try in the second stanza, much to the chagrin of many fans who claimed the Cowboys winger committed a double-movement and planted the ball short.
But Moses, who finished with 20 points, ensured that debate was moot when he backed up a bulldozing David Fifita bust to reach the bonus zone and secure the coveted trophy.
The Kiwis will look for redemption next Friday at the Trans-Tasman double header.
The Kiwi Ferns are the inaugural women’s World Cup 9s champions following an incredible 17-15 victory over Australia.
The Ferns went into the match the underdogs after the Jillaroos handed it to them the night before, however, after a dominant win over England, the Ferns were no short of confidence and ready for redemption.
Jillaroos flyer Tiana Penitani opened the scoring with her fifth try of the tournament but the Ferns bettered that as player of the tournament Raecene McGregor brilliantly stepped through to score in the bonus zone.
Australia fought back to take an 8-7 advantage into half-time after their co-captains combined, Ali Brigginshaw popping a smart offload for Kezie Apps to power over.
The Kiwi Ferns scored first after the break via speedster Jules Newman before Corban McGregor gave the advantage back to the Jillaroos again with a bonus-zone try.
But a dummy-half barge-over from stand out Nita Maynard gave the Kiwi Ferns what turned out to be a winning lead, with goal-kicking proving the difference.
The Kiwi Ferns take out the World 9’s Title and will look to go back to back at the Trans-Tasman double header next Friday.
Updated: 7:30pm AED
New Zealand became the first team through to the men’s World Cup 9s final after cruising to a 22-6 win against England.
Shaun Johnson was largely to thank for the Kiwis’ fast start. He firstly produced a try-saver on Jermaine McGillvary that jolted the ball loose, allowing Ken Maumalo to scoot away for the opening points.
Next, the mercurial playmaker perfectly summed up a blindside overlap to put Jamayne Isaako over in the corner for a 10-nil lead at the break.
Reimis Smith drove a dagger into England’s hearts with a try to start the second stanza before McGillvary latched onto a cross-field kick to get his side on the board.
There was no big fightback, however, as Isaako crossed for his sixth try of the tournament to ensure the Kiwis progressed to the decider.
A sensational team try finished off by Kanyon Paul was the highlight of the Kiwi Ferns’ 33-4 win over England which locked up a berth in the final against Australia.
All the Kiwi Ferns’ big guns got their hands on the ball before Paul plunged over in the bonus zone to put New Zealand on a collision course with their arch rivals in the women’s decider.
Krystal Rota opened the scoring for the Kiwis before England hit back through Amy Hardcastle but it was all New Zealand from there.
After leading 19-4 at the break the Kiwis stretched their advantage early in the second when Rota crossed wide out for her double.
Hireme then crossed for her second try to join Jillaroo Tiana Penitani as the tournament’s leading try-scorer with four.
New Zealand have tuned up for the World Cup 9s semi-finals with a runaway 46-0 win over the USA at Bankwest Stadium.
With playmaking maestro Shaun Johnson calling the shots the Kiwis ran in four first-half tries to blow the Hawks off the park.
Warriors winger Ken Maumalo got the scoring underway when he scored try off a lovely Kodi Nikorima pass and then it was Johnson’s turn to cross the stripe when he dazzled the defence to score in the bonus zone.
Jamayne Isaako and Bailey Simonsson rounded out the scoring in the opening nine minutes as the Kiwis led 19-0 at the break.
There was a slight scare for the Kiwis when Johnson limped off early in the second half but he is expected to be fine for the semi-finals.
Even with Johnson off the field the continued to flow as Maumalo bagged four tries and New Zealand’s offloads proved too much for the USA.
Canberra’s Bailey Simonsson scored the match-winning try for New Zealand in a nail-biting affair against a resurgent Papua New Guinea side.
Kiwis half Shaun Johnson made his presence felt early. He put Jamayne Isaako into the clear and then backed up the Broncos winger to take the pass back inside. Johnson then danced around Kumul defenders to ground the ball beneath the posts for a five-point try.
The Kumuls had two tries disallowed in either corner for putting a foot into touch. But their first points came off the long arm of Edene Gebbie, reaching over into the black box as PNG responded with their own five-pointer to lock up scores 7-7 at half-time.
Then lead changed four times in seven minutes in the second half.
PNG edged ahead ahead through Edwin Ipape sending a flick pass to teammate Nixon Putt to score. But the Kiwis grabbed the lead back (14-13) with their second five-pointer, through Jeremy Sharshall-King this time. The Kumuls weren’t done with Storm’s Justin Olam scoring, but Simonsson gave the Kiwis the last laugh.
The Kiwi Ferns bounced back from the 22-8 loss to Australia on Friday night with a five-tries-to-two win over the PNG Orchids on a sunny Saturday morning to stay in the hunt for Saturday night’s final.
A brace to winger Kiana Takairangi set up New Zealand’s 14-6 half-time lead. She beat the Orchids for pace in her first and then benefitted from a weaving Nita Maynard run for her second.
PNG’s Ua Ravu scored her second try of the tournament by running around Ferns centre Honey Hireme-Smiler but then the New Zealander made up for the error scoring a double herself either side of the break.
Australia opened their World Cup 9s in scintillating fashion with Josh Addo-Carr running free and David Fifita running rampant in a 25-12 win over New Zealand.
It took Addo-Carr less than a minute to open his tryscoring account when he cashed in on Wade Graham’s skilful lead-up work.
The Storm flyer made it two soon after and again Graham was the provider, this time with a perfectly weighted kick for ‘The Fox’ to chase.
New Zealand hit back when Jamayne Isaako latched onto a long ball from Shaun Johnson to score but the home side was in again when Fifita and Ryan Papenhuyzen combined to put Kyle Feldt over.
Rampaging Bronco Fifita then powered across for a four-pointer of his own to put the result beyond doubt but Johnson had some more magic up his sleeve to send Isaako across for a second try.
Fifita then capped a stunning night when he showed off all his athleticism to cross wideout.
The instructions from Jillaroos coach Brad Donald were to start fast and Australian co-captain Ali Brigginshaw obliged by setting up the first two Jillaroos tries before scoring one of her own.
A chip-chase paid off for the Broncos half as she scored a five-point try under the Bankwest Stadium goal posts. It blew the score out to 22-0 and despite two comeback tries by the Ferns through speedster wingers Atawhai Tupaea and Jules Newman, Australia enjoyed a comfortable 22-8 win.
“They came out firing and we couldn’t keep up. We were definitely behind the eight-ball at the start and gave them too much possession. We ended up chasing our tails all day,” Ferns utility Nita Maynard.
The New Zealand Rugby League has passed on its sympathies to Jeremy Marshall-King and his whanau following the death of his father Shane King in a car accident near Tauranga this week.
Marshall-King, half-brother of Kiwi legend Benji Marshall, was in camp with the New Zealand World Cup Nines team in Sydney when he learned of the crash.
Shane King (51), of Putaruru, was involved in an accident on State Highway 29 in the Lower Kaimai area on Tuesday night. Police divers later found his body inside the car which had ended up submerged in the Wairoa River after leaving the road.
Marshall-King spent the day with family on Wednesday before returning to camp, telling team management and his fellow players that it was his wish to play in the World Cup Nines in honour of his father.
He is set to make his Kiwi debut in New Zealand’s opening match against Australia at the tournament tonight.
“We are all feeling for Jeremy and his family and have rallied around him to give him all the support we can this week,” said Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.
“He had time away but has told us he wants to play for his country and we’re all behind him to help him achieve his goal.
“We also wish to pass on our deepest condolences to Jeremy’s family at this sad time.”
The Kiwis and the Kiwi Ferns will wear black armbands as a mark of respect to the Marshall-King family when they line up in their matches against Australia tonight.
New Zealand Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire has today confirmed veteran forward Adam Blair has been brought into the squad for the World Cup Nines at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney starting tomorrow.
He arrived from Auckland early this morning in time for the team’s final training session at Leichhardt Oval before tomorrow night’s opening pool game against Australia (9.00pm kick-off local time).
Blair (33), with 48 Tests and 311 NRL appearances to his name, comes in for would-be debutant Braden Hamlin-Uele. The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks interchange forward will sit out the World Cup Nines to prepare for the Tests to follow against the Kangaroos and the Great Britain Lions.
Blair had an eventful last 24 hours before joining the team, flying home to Auckland just yesterday after a family holiday on the Gold Coast and then being booked on an early flight to Sydney today.
Earlier in the week Sydney Roosters forward Zane Tetevano and Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad replaced the unavailable James Fisher-Harris and Jordan Rapana.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | WORLD CUP NINES
LEESON AH MAU (Vodafone Warriors)
ADAM BLAIR (Vodafone Warriors)
*DYLAN BROWN (Parramatta Eels)
*COREY HARAWIRA-NAERA (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
JAMAYNE ISAAKO (Brisbane Broncos)
SHAUN JOHNSON (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
*JEREMY MARSHALL-KING (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)
*CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD (Canberra Raiders)
BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
KODI NIKORIMA (Vodafone Warriors)
KEVIN PROCTOR (Gold Coast Titans)
*BAILEY SIMONSSON (Canberra Raiders)
*REIMIS SMITH (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
*ZANE TETEVANO (Sydney Roosters)
New Zealand Kiwis playmaker Shaun Johnson and Kiwi Ferns centre Honey Hireme – Smiler have today been confirmed to captain the national teams in the inaugural World Cup Nines at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Johnson (29) and Hireme (38) aren’t only the most seasoned international players in each of the squads but they can also draw on significant experience in the nines game.
Johnson appeared in each of the four NRL Nines tournaments at Eden Park in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, captaining the Vodafone Warriors in the first three before the legendary Ruben Wiki led the side in 2017.
Hireme also featured on the same stage twice in 2016 and 2017 for the Kiwi Ferns against the Jillaroos.
The first appearances for the pair were in central Sydney today when the Kiwis and the Kiwi Ferns gathered with every squad at the Botanical Gardens overlooking the harbour.
The full squads from the 16 competing countries – 12 men and four women – were captured in a number of photos including a spectacular one of all teams lined up together.
Johnson leads a 16-man team which features eight players yet to play for the Kiwis. The squad assembled in Sydney on Monday, having its first field session at Leichhardt Oval yesterday.
The Kiwi Ferns also trained for the first time yesterday. One change has been made to the side with Warriors hooker Kanyon Paul coming into the Kiwi Ferns for the first time as a late replacement for unavailable Brisbane dummy half Lavinia Gould.
The Kiwi Ferns open their campaign against the Jillaroos on Friday night with two more pool games against England and Papua New Guinea on Saturday night. The top two teams go into the final.
The Kiwis meet the Kangaroos on Friday night and have two more pool games against Papua New Guinea and the United States on Saturday. The top two teams from the group go into the semi-finals involving the winners of the other two pools. England is grouped with Wales, France and Lebanon in one pool while Tonga Invitational leads the remaining pool alongside Toa Samoa, Fiji Bati and Cook Islands.
New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the following players have been selected to represent the New Zealand Residents team who will take on the England Community Lions on November 1st at Trusts Arena in Auckland.
The game will be televised live on SKY Sport with kick-off scheduled for 6:35pm.
Canterbury’s Tevin Arona was just named in the Cook Island Nines squad and will take the field this coming weekend in the inaugural World Nines. David Bhana is no stranger to the professional league, before his retirement due to injury two years ago, he captained the Warriors U20s, the Junior Kiwis in 2013, was named in the NRL 20s team of 2013, played professionally for the Newcastle Knights and also represented NZ Māori.
The sought after fixture will be the closing bout of the first-ever England Community Lions tour down under. The England Community Lions will also come up against a North Island Championship Selection at Owen Delany Park in Taupo on October 24 and the New Zealand Māori Residents XIII team in Rotorua on Sunday, October 27.
Greg Peters, CEO of NZRL, says this fixture will further showcase the undeniable regional talent on offer.
“It’s extremely exciting to see a team of such calibre named, not only for the players but for the game in general. The more opportunities we give to our local players and coaching staff, the better the game gets and to come up against a quality international side is a bonus. Congratulations to all who made the team.”
The first weekend of November will be jam-packed with New Zealand Rugby League action at all levels, as the Residents take on the England Community Lions on Friday 1st closely followed by the much-anticipated clash between the Great Britain Lions and Kiwis on Saturday 2nd November.
Congratulations to all prize winners and those selected for Tournament Teams at the 2019 National Youth Tournament.
15s Champions: Akarana Falcons
15s Player of the Tournament: Keano Kini (Akarana)
15s Final MVP: Nathaniel Tangimataiti (Akarana)
Fair play 15s Team of the Tournament: Wellington Orcas
Manager of the Tournament: Rachael Te Hau (South Island)
Trainer of the Tournament: Joshua Te Aomarere (Wai-Coa-Bay)
Coach of the Tournament: Henry Nicholas (Akarana)
15s Tournament Team
Nathaniel TANGIMATAITI, Akarana
Keano KINI, Akarana
Jayden SMITH, Akarana
Benaiah IOELU, Akarana
Caylis LATU, Akarana
Taniela MAPUSUA-LOTAKI, Counties
Francis MANULELEUA, Counties
Ben PENI, Counties
Salesi FOKETI, Counties
Siamani LEULUAI, Northland
Dalls HURRELL-JONES, South Island
Felix FA’ATILI, South Island
Rico TAEPA KIHI, Auckland Vulcans
Jonte RIKIRIKI, Wai-Coa-Bay
Joseph O’LEARY, Wai-Coa-Bay
Jordan CHAPMAN, Wellington
Jacob LABAN, Wellington
17s Champions: Counties Manukau Stingrays
17s Player of the Tournament: Riley Pascoe (South Island)
17s Final MVP: Ethan Faitaua (South Island)
Fair play 17s Team of the Tournament: South Island Scorpions
Manager of the Tournament: Marty Brown (Akarana)
Trainer of the Tournament: Sean Witanga (Counties)
Coach of the Tournament: Archie Jacobs (South Island)
Referee of the Tournament: Justyne Mantagi-Lui
Referees’ Choice Referee of the Tournament: Keven Ah-Ken
17s Tournament Team
Wiremu KAIRE, Akarana
Flipo WHITEHOUSE-OPETAIA TOVIO, Auckland Vulcans
Jarney PROCTOR-HARWOOD, Counties
Peesi Valingi KEPU, Counties
Otukinekina KEPU, Counties
Jeremiah MARGRAFF, Counties
Sheldon RAPANA, Central
Tyson CHASE, Central
Jacob LOWE, South Island
Ethan FAITAUA, South Island
Thomas CAMPBELL, South Island
Riley PASCOE, South Island
Tamati CHRISTIE, South Island
Callum DONALDSON, South Island
Jaedon WELLINGTON, South Island
Dayna BIDOIS, Wai-Coa-Bay
Bailey UMAKI, Wai-Coa-Bay
Thanks to Pirtek, each month we look to celebrate a volunteer who has contributed immensely to Rugby League and their community. This month, we congratulate Bryarn Nuku from Omahu Huia Rugby League Club in Hastings for being our September Volunteer of the Month.
Omahu Huia hasn’t seen a Junior grade for more than 20 years, so Bryarn took it upon herself to start up the Junior division at the club, in which everyone at the club loves seeing the Juniors back up and running. “I didn’t actually realise how much effort this young lady has gone through in order to get us to where we are. She picks up all the kids for training and their games, as parents are unable to and she does this all at her own cost.” Shane, nominator.
Bryarn saw the need for fundraising in her Rugby League community because most of the kids could barely afford a pair of football boots. She ran a sausage sizzle two weeks in a row in order for the club to be able to pay their fees. She also managed to organise mouth guards and ex-conditioned rugby boots for the kids to play in, as she wasn’t able to purchase brand new ones.
You can always count on Bryarn to be at every game with oranges for each of the three teams. She also manages to have the ‘player of the day’ certificates organised for each game, along with chocolate bars for all the kids so that no one misses out. You’ll also see Bryarn collecting all the gear at the end of the day so that she can take them home to wash them, as well as folding all the team’s strips – fresh, clean and ready for the Juniors every Saturday morning.
“This lady here is the future of Rugby League in the Hawkes Bay community.” Shane, Nominator.
“Young Bryarn is another great example of the selfless people that are involved at the grassroots of Rugby League in New Zealand,” says Chris Bourke, General Manager at Pirtek.
“To instigate the club along with the extent she goes to ensuring the kids get to play, including some funding from her own pocket, is exemplary. Bryarn demonstrates the true character of Rugby League volunteers and why she should be the Pirtek volunteer of the month.”
Each winner receives $200 worth of vouchers.
Auckland, New Zealand, October 10, 2019 – Braden Hamlin-Uele, Corey Harawira-Naera, Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Zane Tetevano are in line to make their debuts in the New Zealand Kiwis’ coming Tests against the Kangaroos and the Great Britain Lions.
The four players have all been named tonight in a squad which also features returns for winger Jamayne Isaako and back rowers Kevin Proctor and Joseph Tapine who weren’t involved in the June Test victory over Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium.
Tokoroa product Tetevano now has a third opportunity to play his first Test.
He was selected but then ruled out of last year’s end-of-season programme with injury and was then in the 19-man squad but didn’t make the playing 17 when the Kiwis beat Mate Ma’a Tonga 34-14 in June.
A premiership winner with the Sydney Roosters last year, the 28-year-old was a regular again throughout this season totalling 23 appearances but suffered further disappointment when, after being named for the grand final against Canberra, he was ultimately omitted.
Northland-raised Canterbury-Bankstown second rower Harawira-Naera has earned a second chance of making his Test debut. Like Tetevano, he was originally selected in last year’s squad for the home Test against Australia and the following three-match series in England only to be ruled out with injury.
He played for the New Zealand Māori Kiwis in the match against the Australian Indigenous All-Stars in Melbourne in January and went on to make 21 appearances in his first season with the Bulldogs.
After previously representing the Cook Islands at Test level, Nicoll-Klokstad comes into the Kiwi squad for the first time after a superb season for beaten grand finalists the Canberra Raiders. He scored 11 tries in 25 appearances.
Glenora Bears junior and former Junior Kiwi Hamlin-Uele earns selection after impressing in 21 interchange appearances for the Sharks this year.
Harawira-Naera, Hamlin-Uele, Nicoll-Klokstad and Tetevano are also in the Kiwis’ World Cup Nines squad, Tetevano coming into both sides today after James Fisher-Harris was forced to withdraw with injury and Nicoll-Klokstad being called in to replace Jordan Rapana. Rapana was originally chosen in both sides but has now been ruled out; his replacement in the Test squad is yet to be named.
Of the 19 players in the squad for the Tonga Test in June, 15 return for the internationals against the Kangaroos and the Lions. Four of the playing 17 are unavailable due to injury – captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, prop Jesse Bromwich, centre Esan Marsters and back rower Fisher-Harris.
Three players from the premiership-winning Roosters side are named – centre Joseph Manu, back rower Isaac Liu and prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves – along with Tetevano while the beaten Raiders provide Nicoll-Klokstad and Tapine.
In all 11 players in the Test squad are also in the Kiwis’ World Cup Nines side.
The Nines players assemble in Sydney on Monday with the Test squad gathering on Sunday week.
The Kiwis begin their Test campaign with their Oceania Cup clash against the Kangaroos in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 before flying to New Zealand for two Tests against the reformed GB Rugby League Lions (Great Britain).
The first of these will be the second match of an international tripleheader at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday, November 2, which also features the Kangaroos facing Tonga Invitational and Toa Samoa taking on Fiji Bati in Oceania Cup matches.
The Kiwis then move to Christchurch for the second Test at Orangetheory Stadium (formerly AMI Stadium) on Saturday, November 9.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | v KANGAROOS & GB RUGBY LEAGUE LIONS
Friday, October 25 7.30pm v Australia WIN Stadium
Saturday, November 2 5.00pm v Great Britain Eden Park
Saturday, November 9 8.00pm v Great Britain Orangetheory Stadium
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | SQUAD
Kiwi Ferns head coach Justin Morgan has named a vastly-experienced side ahead of the much-anticipated Test match against the Jillaroos at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 (5.40pm kick-off local time; 7.40pm NZT).
The side includes Broncos NRLW grand final playmakers Lavinia Gould and Raecene McGregor, both named in New Zealand’s World Cup Nines squad yesterday.
They both scored in the Broncos’ impressive 30-6 win over St George Illawarra and are now joined by teammate and powerhouse prop Amber-Paris Hall in the Test squad.
The Warriors, the only team to beat the double premiership-winning Broncos, supply 13 of the 19 Ferns players, including Warriors captain Georgia Hale, star fullback and 2017 Kiwi Ferns player of the year Apii Nicholls, veteran hooker Krystal Rota and experienced front rowers Annetta Nuuausala and Aieshaleigh Smalley.
Warriors winger Madison Bartlett and halfback and NRLW Dally M finalist Charntay Poko, made their Kiwi Ferns debuts in the 46-8 victory over Fetu Samoa in June.
The selection also features much-decorated Warriors recruit, Honey Hireme-Smiler, who first donned the Kiwi Ferns jersey 17 years ago. She missed the NRLW season on compassionate grounds to support her seriously ill mother Caryn who sadly passed away on September 25.
Warriors centre Jules Newman was also named in the Ferns’ wider squad against Fetu Samoa and will be looking to earn a starting spot against the Jillaroos.
Sydney Roosters’ winger Kiana Takairangi, who scored a double on debut for the Ferns against the Samoans, will look to carry on her impressive form alongside Sydney teammate and experienced hooker Nita Maynard.
Winger/centre Atawhai Tupaea makes her return to the black and white while prop Billy-Jean Ale comes into the side after playing for Fetu Samoa in June.
“We are really lucky to have a team of this calibre,” says Morgan.
“There is a real valuable mix of experienced leaders and young talent in the squad, all of them eager to take the field and do their country proud.
“The last time we faced the Jillaroos it was a hard-fought battle until the end and that narrow loss stills hurt so I know the girls will be ready to come out firing and put that behind us. These players have been in impressive form throughout the NRLW competition, so I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.”
Click HERE for tickets to Australia v New Zealand Double Header in Wollongong,
Warriors and Kiwi Ferns champion Honey Hireme has tonight been awarded the inaugural Veronica White Medal for her outstanding contribution to the community through rugby league.
And Canberra Raiders grand finalist and former Kiwi international Iosia Soliola has won the men’s equivalent, the Ken Stephen Medal.
Both medals were awarded as part of the NRL grand final celebrations in front of a packed ANZ Stadium.
Both players demonstrated significant community engagement throughout the course of this year and were selected by a panel of judges from across the game.
NRL head of government and community relations Jaymes Boland-Rudder congratulated Hireme and Soliola on their outstanding off-field achievements and paid tribute to all of the female and male nominees (Vodafone Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi was one of the four men’s finalists).
“These are two prestigious awards and it’s fitting that Honey and Sia are being celebrated on the biggest stage and at the biggest occasion in the rugby league calendar,” said Boland-Rudder.
“Both players – and all of our nominees – undertake an enormous amount of work off the field each year, much of it unknown and behind-the-scenes, simply because they wish to make a positive and genuine impact among communities.
“In the case of Honey, she has been an undisputed leader within her local rugby league community for a long time, encouraging young girls to play the game of rugby league and support one another in their everyday lives.
“For Sia, he’s been a pillar of strength for the Raiders this year and even more so in helping those in need, from young children to those facing homelessness and at a disadvantage in life.
“I’d also like to pay tribute to the enormous generosity that thousands of players, coaches, referees, fans and volunteers in our game deliver to unite, excite and inspire communities on a daily basis.”
This is the first year the NRL has awarded the Veronica White Medal and the 31st year of the Ken Stephen Medal.
To read more about both medals, along with the work that Hireme and Soliola have undertaken this year, click here.
For vision of Hireme and her Veronica White Medal story, click here.
For vision of Soliola and his Ken Stephen Medal story, click here.
As seen on warriors.kiwi by the NRL
Thinking of going to the Rugby League TRIPLE-HEADER at Eden Park on November 2nd?
Join the Mad Butcher and the former Kiwis listed below. Mix and mingle with Rugby League royalty in the Mad Butcher lounge in the West stand at Eden Park – plus reserved match tickets directly in front of the lounge in the Lower West stand.
Gates open – 1:30pm
Samoa v Fiji – 2:20pm
Great Britain v New Zealand – 5pm
Australia v Tonga – 7:40pm
For more detail contact Bryan 021 848 411 or email [email protected]
Ray Baxendale (Kiwi #519) — played 16 Tests and 23
other matches for Kiwis from 1975 to 1981. West Coast and
Canterbury second-row forward. Captained South Island. Also
played for Wakefield Trinity.
Tony Coll (Kiwi #503) — played 30 Tests and 35 other
matches or Kiwis from 1972 to 1982. West Coast second-row
forward for 12 years. Captained Kiwis in 1977 World Cup and
South Island to beat Australia.
Bruce Gall (Kiwi #559) — played 3 Tests and 19 other
matches on tours to Britain, France, Australia and Papua New
Guinea in 1980 and 1982. Taranaki forward who also played for
Balmain in Sydney.
Mark Graham (Kiwi #535) — played 29 Tests and 16 other
matches for Kiwis from 1977 to 1988. Auckland backrow
forward who also played for Brisbane Norths, North Sydney
and Wakefield Trinity. Captain in 18 Tests and on two tours to
Britain and France.
Dane O’Hara (Kiwi #528) — played 36 Tests and 27 other
matches for Kiwis from 1977 to 1986. Auckland wing who
played for Hull FC from 1981 to 1989. Captained Kiwis in 1980
home series against Australia.
Lyndsay Proctor (Kiwi #507) – played 13 Tests and 16 other
matches for Kiwis from 1974 to 1978. Auckland prop who also
played for New Zealand XIII in 1981and for New Hunslet club
Ken Stirling (Kiwi #489) – played 22 Tests and 21 other
matches for Kiwis from 1971 to 1978. Auckland scrum-half who
played all seven Tests of New Zealand’s 1971 Grand Slam year.
Captain in 14 of his Tests.
Graeme West (Kiwi #517) – Played 18 Tests and 19 other
matches for Kiwis from 1975 to 1985. Taranaki forward who
captained Kiwis in 4 Tests. Also captained Wigan to win 1985
Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
Head coach Justin Morgan has named an experienced Kiwi Ferns squad not short on strike power to take the field at the inaugural World Cup Nines at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on October 18 and 19.
Brisbane playmakers Lavinia Gould and Raecene McGregor back up from the Broncos’ impressive NRLW grand final win over St George Illawarra on Sunday when they both scored in the dominant 30-6 victory.
The selection also features the much-decorated Honey Hireme. She missed the NRLW season on compassionate grounds to support her seriously ill mother Caryn who passed away on September 25.
Of the 16 players selected, 13 were in the squad involved in the 46-8 one-off Test win over Fetu Samoa at Mount Smart Stadium in June.
The Warriors, the only team to beat the double premiership-winning Broncos, supply 11 players.
New Zealand is one of four women’s teams playing for the World Cup title alongside Trans-Tasman rivals Australia, England and Papua New Guinea.
“This is going to be a tough competition against top tier international rivals, and our goal is to lift that world title at the end of the day,” said Morgan.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what these guys bring to the table especially following on from the NRLW competition where a lot of these players were in impressive form. This is a new tournament and with that brings a new level of play. It’s going to be exciting.”
The Kiwi Ferns World Cup Nines squad assembles in Sydney next Tuesday.
Following the Nines, the Ferns switch mode to Test football with their clash against the Jillaroos in Wollongong on Friday, October 25.
Click HERE for tickets to the World Cup Nines.
NEW ZEALAND KIWI FERNS | WORLD CUP NINES
MADISON BARTLETT (Warriors)
TEUILA FOTU-MOALA (Dragons)
GEORGIA HALE (Warriors)
LAVINIA GOULD (Broncos)
HONEY HIREME (Warriors)
ONJEURLINA LEIATAUA (Warriors)
NITA MAYNARD (Roosters)
RAECENE McGREGOR (Broncos)
JULES NEWMAN (Warriors)
APII NICHOLLS (Warriors)
CHARNTAY POKO (Warriors)
KRYSTAL ROTA (Warriors)
AIESHALEIGH SMALLEY (Warriors)
KIANA TAKAIRANGI (Roosters)
CRYSTAL TAMARUA (Warriors)
ATAWHAI TUPAEA (Warriors)
Eight debutants have now been included in the 16-man New Zealand Kiwis squad for the World Cup Nines at Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on October 18 and 19.
When the line-up was originally named yesterday head coach Michael Maguire confirmed NRL rookies in Parramatta standoff Dylan Brown (19) and Canberra winger Bailey Simonsson (21) as well as second rower Corey Harawira-Naera (Canterbury Bankstown-Bulldogs), front rower Braden Hamlin-Uele (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), hooker Jeremy Marshall-King (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) and winger Reimis Smith (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs).
In the past 24 hours Maguire has been forced to make two more changes after losing forward James Fisher-Harris and winger Jordan Rapana resulting in the inclusion today of two more players yet to play for the Kiwis – Sydney Roosters middle forward Zane Tetevano and Canberra Raiders fullback Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad.
Simonsson, Marshall-King and Smith all have strong family connections in rugby league.
Simonsson’s father Paul was a 1987 All Black before switching from rugby union to rugby league when he played with the North Sydney Bears in the then Winfield Cup in 1991-92.
Marshall-King (23) makes the New Zealand team in the same year his older brother and rugby league legend Benji made his emotional Test comeback for the Kiwis against Mate Ma’a Tonga seven years after his last international.
And Smith (22) is the son of 1996-2000 Kiwi Tyran Smith, who played for seven clubs in his 188-game NRL career from 1993-2005.
Harawira-Naera (24) was originally named in the Kiwi squad for the end of season campaign against the Kangaroos and England last year before being ruled out with injury. Tetevano was also ruled out with injury after being selected for that campaign and wasn’t in the final 17 when he was with the Kiwis for their Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga in June.
While bringing in eight newcomers, Maguire has a squad built around Test players in halves Shaun Johnson and Kodi Nikorima, second rowers Kevin Proctor, Briton Nikora and Joseph Tapine, wingers Ken Maumalo and Jamayne Isaako and prop Leeson Ah Mau.
“This is a hugely exciting opportunity for the whole group playing in the World Cup Nines,” said Maguire.
“I’m especially excited for the new players we’ve been able to bring into the group.
“We’ve got players right across this squad who have come off terrific NRL seasons and have earned the privilege to represent New Zealand. For us, this is another step towards taking the Kiwi jersey to the place we want it to be.”
The New Zealand World Cup Nines squad assembles in Sydney next Monday.
Following the Nines, the Kiwis switch mode to Test football with their Oceania Cup clash against the Kangaroos in Wollongong on Friday, October 25 before flying to New Zealand for two Tests against the reformed GB Rugby League Lions (Great Britain).
The New Zealand Test squad will be announced tomorrow.
*BRADEN HAMLIN-UELE (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
Debutants denoted by *
On Sunday afternoon a very sunny and hot Pulman Park saw three international showdowns played out, showcasing the best under 18s rugby league talent across New Zealand and the rest of the world.
First up the New Zealand Resident 16s would face the TOA Samoa 16s, a tight contest between the two nations proved Samoa was more than prepared to take on their big brother counterpart.
New Zealand looked to be in the game after a decent first half, with tries across the field from the boys in white. Cassius Cowley and New Zealand Captain Jaedon Wellington would put the team in front going into the second half 14 – 10.
Samoa went into the sheds trailing by four, but complacency, a lack of discipline from the New Zealand team and pure passion from the Samoans lead them to take the win over the hosts in the end 26 – 20.
The French team who faced the New Zealand 18s earlier in the week, arrived ready to finish their tour of Aotearoa on a high, with only Auckland U19s standing in their way.
While the first half was a grind – with France kicking a penalty on the siren to lead 14-12 at the break – the second stanza saw 38 combined points scored.
A big second half saw Auckland U19 get past France U19 38-26 in their one-off representative clash.
Fresh off the back of their win against France on Thursday, the NZ18s were keen to finish their campaign undefeated, however, if the Toa Samoa 16s performance was anything to go by, this wasn’t going to be an easy task.
Both teams came out firing but it was NZ who capitalised on early possession to get first points on the board. That momentum, however, was short-lived as Samoa fired straight back with an overlap to the right as centre, Sam Taunga, went over for Samoa’s first points. Neither side was able to convert making the score four a piece after ten minutes
A tackle in the air from NZ put Samoa in the lead as they took the two penalty points soon followed by a try to Vaiala Tamati off a clever cross-field kick extending their lead 12 – 4.
NZ answered straight back as Semisi Sikei dived on a kick in goal to make it 12 – 8. Poor discipline from NZ gifted Samoa further field possession as hooker Jeremiah Schuster dived through the defensive line making it 18 – 8 at the break.
The Kiwis had no choice but to come out firing if they were to remain in the game, and that they did, NZ opened the second half with a try to Vaka Sikahele in corner to tighten the gap to 18 – 12. Kina Kepu then steam-rolled the Samoan defence to score a great solo try making it 18 – 16 with a kick to come. Sione Moala was having a less than ideal day with the boot missing another conversion; the Kiwis still trail by two.
The NZ forward pack were proving hard to handle breaking the Samoan defensive line two more times, yet handling errors by the Kiwis cost back to back try opportunities. NZ then caught Samoa napping and finally capitalised on their possession as Jordan Coleman scored under the posts making it 22 – 18.
Samoa gained momentum off poor discipline from the Kiwis yet a try went begging as Samoa’s chasers were caught offside. NZ went straight back on the attack as William Fakatoumafi skillfully caught a highball and offloaded to winger Semisi Sikei who extended the Kiwis’ lead to 26 – 18.
Fakatoumafi then defused Samoa’s last play option catching yet another high ball to run 100m untouched adding an extra four for NZ, Moala was unable to convert keeping the score 30 – 18. Feao Tongia crossed for the Kiwis eighth, and final try making it 36 – 18 at full time.
An impressive second-half performance by the Kiwis concluded an entertaining day of footy at Auckland’s Pulman Park. Congratulations to all involved.