10 April 2023
The third and final day of the NZRL National 9s Tournament kicked off with the 18s boys’ semi-final clash between the North and South.
Canterbury was first to put points on the board with a left edge overlap putting Ezekiel Petelo-Paulo over for their first four-pointer.
Costly Northland errors gifted Canterbury more attacking possession as the Cantabrians quickly answered back with another try and an eight-point leading heading into the break.
It was all the Southerners as they struck again seconds into the half off the back of another Northland error extending their lead.
Canterbury dotted down three consecutive tries with momentum on their side, but a late consolation try to Northland wasn’t enough as Canterbury advanced to the final with a 26-4 victory.
Auckland faced the Capital in the second boy’s semi-final shortly after.
With accurate kicking and excellent pace, a strong start by the Auckland side saw them head to the sheds with a 10-0 lead at halftime. Wellington fought hard to come back in the second half with two well-earned tries and a conversion, narrowly putting them ahead 12-10.
In a last-minute upset, Auckland utilised their swift right edge again to score and secure their place in the final with a 14-12 victory.
Auckland will face Canterbury in the 18s Boys final live at 1:30pm.
Top of the table Auckland White were first to mount points against Waikato in the first girls’ 18s semi-final.
A line break from Auckland saw centre Gillian Fa’aumu run 100m downfield to score Auckland’s second try moments after.
Waikato answered back with a lovely overlap on their right edge, scoring their first points of the day, and bringing the halftime deficit back to within one try.
Waikato put themselves back into good attacking position after barging runs from their middle forwards, but a costly error saw a try go begging. Auckland bounced back, going over their third shortly after shifting momentum back in their favour.
Waikato’s effort never wavered, getting themselves another four-pointer right before the final whistle; however it wasn’t to be as Auckland White head to the final with a 12-8 victory.
The second girls’ semi-final clash was a battle of the ’09 as Auckland Red and Blue faced off.
The match showcased great physicality and ball play between the two girls’ teams. However, it was Auckland Red that came out firing, scoring three unanswered tries within the first half. Following the break, Auckland Blue did well to score but were dominated by the Red side, who took the win 18-4, booking them a spot in the girls’ grand final.
Auckland will face off against one another in the National 18s Girl’s final at 2:00pm today.
Boys 18s FINAL Canterbury v Auckland 1:30pm
Girls 18s FINAL Auckland Red v Auckland White 2:00pm
9 April 2023
Wellington played Northland in the Girls’ 16s Final, where the girls from the capital put on a dominant performance.
Looking to avenge their finals loss last year, Wellington came out firing drawing first blood. Costly errors kept Northland under pressure in the first half as Wellington went into the sheds with a 10-0 lead.
Wellington continued their momentum into the second half scoring two back-to-back tries. A last-ditch effort from the Northlanders wasn’t enough, as the Wellington Orcas were crowned U16s Girls’ Champions with a 20-6 win over Northland.
Canterbury took on tournament dark horse Manawatu in the Boys’ 16s final.
The Southern 9s Champions opened the scoring with a clever dummy half run as Ill-discipline would cost Manawatu.
Brilliant individual skill gave Canterbury their second; however, Manawatu found their groove as quick play the balls scored them their first points of the game.
Errors from Canterbury in their own half cost them as Manawatu scooped up a loose ball levelling the score right before half-time.
The second half was an arm wrestle with both sides tight on defence. However, Canterbury took their chances with a lovely cut-out pass, putting their winger over to gain the lead.
Manawatu, in a last-ditch effort pulled off a slick draw & pass evening the score at full-time.
The final quickly turned into a golden point match.
A costly error in Canterbury’s play the ball gave Manawatu possession 20 metres out from the Southerners’ line.
Manawatu would use this to snatch the title running over to claim the U16s 9s Championship 18-14.
The U16s playoffs kicked off day 2 of NZRL National 9s, where Wellington took on Auckland in the first girls’ semi-final.
It was all Wellington in the first half as the Capital managed to keep Auckland in their own forty, scoring two unanswered tries. The Capital kept their momentum in the second stint running away with a convincing 20-4 win booking them a spot in the girls’ final.
Canterbury then took on Northland in the second semi, where it was an even match-up between North and South with one try a piece heading into halftime.
But it was the Northlanders that came out firing in the second stint, scoring two back-to-back tries to book themselves a spot in the U16s girls’ final against Wellington with a 12-10 victory.
The boys’ playoffs followed shortly after, where Canterbury took on Otago in the first semi-final. The Cantabrians dominated, scoring four unanswered tries to book their spot in the final, 24-0.
Wellington then took on Manawatu in the second semi. A clever barge through the middle saw Wellington open up the scoring, but Manawatu answered back with four unanswered tries to win 24-6
Wellington will take on Northland in the Girls’ final at 1:30pm and Canterbury will face Manawatu in the Boys’ final at 2pm. Both games live on Sky Sport 4.
30 March 2023
New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) is proud to announce that 2023 will see the much-awaited return of the National District 9s. This will be the second instalment of the National District 9s after the inaugural event’s success.
This year the National District 9s will be held at Bruce Pulman Park over the course of the Easter Weekend, with the 16s Boys and Girls competition being played on the 8th of April, the 18s Boys and Girls competition being played on the 9th of April and the finals of all four age group divisions culminating on the 10th of April.
Ten districts will be represented at the Nationals spanning Northland, Auckland, Coastline, Hauraki, Manawatu, Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.
The top qualifying eight district teams (per age group) will compete in the National 9s Tournament. The National District 9s Tournament will collectively see 32 teams compete with a 16s Boys Champion, 16s Girls Champion, 18s Boys Champion and 18s Girls Champion, all crowned at the conclusion of the tournament.
The National District 9s is one of the most significant events in rugby league calendar as David McMeeken, National Football Operations Manager at NZRL, says: “The 9s format is a proven successful entry point for rugby league as it nurtures and grows the game at a district level.”
After a successful 2022 competition, districts will look to build momentum off the back of last season both in boys and girls’ age groups. One of the event’s initial intentions was to bring that competition back at a regional level while fostering and developing rangatahi talent throughout the country, something that was a proven success as many of the talent that played within last year’s competition went on to represent their districts in the girls and boys youth tournament held later that year.
The growth in interest and participation in the girls game across the country is something to note as formats like the 9s help enable to push the girls game. Luisa Avaiki, Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL, says: “I’m beyond delighted that we can continue this momentum. It’s a significant event in our calendar and one that encourages girls from every district across New Zealand to get involved and fall in love with rugby league.”
April 18 2022
Bruce Pulman Park played host to the U18 finals of the National District 9’s Competition on a windy day in the South of Auckland.
The National District 9’s final day kicked off with the seventh vs eighth playoff as Southland vs Canterbury kicked off a southern derby. In a tightly contested match, Southland’s three length of the field tries were not enough as they went down 16-12 in the day’s first game. Manawatu and Southland boys then took the field, with the contest going deep into golden point, where a late try in the left corner from Manawatu sealed the 16-12 victory.
Fifth vs sixth saw Waikato girls take on Auckland’s Glenora Bears. A fightback late was not enough for the Waikato side as Glenora won the match 18-10. Wellington then took on locals Manurewa Marlins as both teams traded blows during the half, with the scores at 4-4 going into the break. The Marlins took control of the second half, scoring two unanswered tries to win a comfortably, 12-4.
Otahuhu and Bay of Plenty girls played another scintillating golden point affair as both teams couldn’t be separated after 18 minutes. With only seconds remaining in golden point, quick thinking from the Bay of Plenty side saw them cross over and take the 14-10 win. Otahuhu boys went up against Waikato in their third vs fourth matchup as late tries from both teams saw another golden point thriller. Both teams went into the extra period on 18 points. When a 40-metre field-goal effort from Waikato excruciatingly hit the left upright, Otahuhu capitalised and took the game 22-18.
The first vs second finals kicked off as Auckland’s Howick Hornets faced off against the Wellington Orcas. Howick hit first to go up 4-0 early. Wellington, however, scored two consecutive tries off Howick’s mistakes to go into the half up 8-4. On the back of several penalties, Howick finally found a way through going over in the right corner to tie the game with under three minutes remaining. A late raid in the dying embers saw Wellington snatch the game at the death, winning 12-8 to capture the first U18s Girls National District 9’s title.
The boys saw Canterbury vs the Bay of Plenty after an early battle back and forth, Canterbury opened the scoring early and on the stroke as they took a convincing 8-0 lead into the break. The South Island side proved dominant, scoring three second-half tries to run out 20-0 winners and take home the U18s Boys National District 9’s trophy for 2022.
April 17 2022
The NZRL National District 9’s finals took place at Auckland’s Bruce Pulman Park.
The U16s Finals kicked off with the seventh vs eighth matchups as the Otago girls took a convincing 20-6 victory over their Waikato opponents. The boys then took the field, and after being down 8-0 at the half, Northland was able to pull out a 10-8 victory over Otago in the game’s dying embers.
The sixth vs fifth finals started with Taranaki girls putting on a convincing display as they scored three tries to one, winning 12-4 against the Bay of Plenty. Hauraki met Manawatu for the boys as the Manawatu team ran out 20-4 winners in a one-sided affair.
Canterbury and Northland started the third vs fourth rounds as a dominant Canterbury side took a 14-0 win. Marist and Wellington then met in an inspired contest, as Wellington stole the game at the death in a scintillating finish. A broken play resulting in a length of the field try to secure a 16-14 victory.
Wellington met Auckland’s Mangere Easts in the first vs second finals as both teams traded the lead early. Both teams traded blows as Wellington carried a 10-6 lead into the half. The Auckland side hit right back after half-time and added another late as they ran out as winners in the Inaugural U16’s Girls National Districts 9’s competition.
The boy’s final saw Canterbury and Waikato Mana battle it out, with Canterbury running out 14-4 winners. Canterbury captured the lead in a clinical display and never relinquished it as they took home the U16s Boys National District 9’s trophy.
02 June 2021
NZRL is pleased to announce an inaugural National District 9s Tournament will take place in early 2022 involving four age group divisions: 16s Boys, 16s Girls, 18s Boys and 18s Girls.
The National District 9s will entail three stages:
District Tournaments – Early 2022, the districts across New Zealand are invited to run 9s Tournaments for their clubs to enter, to which districts will then select teams for each applicable age group to enter the ‘Regional Tournaments.’
Regional Tournaments – Selected district teams will then battle it out at the Regional Qualifier Tournaments held throughout the country, managed by the zones and Auckland Rugby League (in Auckland), for a place in the National District 9s Tournament.
National District 9s Tournament – The top qualifying eight district teams (per age group) will compete in the National 9s Tournament in April 2022. The National District 9s Tournament will collectively see 32 teams compete with a 16s Boys Champion, 16s Girls Champion, 18s Boys Champion and 18s Girls Champion, all crowned at the conclusion of the tournament.
David McMeeken, National Football Operations Manager at NZRL, says: “The 9s format is a proven successful entry point for rugby league as it nurtures and grows the game at a district level.”
“Auckland Rugby League (ARL) is the only district in the country that offers a weekly competition in the girls’ space, to which they also accommodate two Waikato clubs in their competition. The ARL started with the 9s format to introduce the game and have seen evergrowing success since with seven U18s, 13 U16s and 12 U14s girls teams.
“The goal is to see other districts emulate this and build momentum and participation numbers in both boys’ and girls’ age groups. The new District 9s Tournament brings that competition back at a regional level while fostering and developing rangatahi talent throughout the country. It’s great for the game and an exciting addition to the football calendar.”
Luisa Avaiki, Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL, says: “There is significant and growing interest in the girls’ game across the country and it’s formats like the 9s that enable this.”
“We have 16 girls teams who have expressed interest to attend the inaugural NZRL National Secondary Schools Girl’s Tournament in August. A lot of this comes down to the mahi done by ARL and even New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL), who offer a platform for Kotiro to represent their people at the Rangatahi tournaments.
“I’m beyond delighted that we can now offer a National District 9s Tournament to continue this momentum. It’s a significant milestone and one that hopefully encourages girls from every district across New Zealand to get involved and fall in love with rugby league.”
NZRL will release further details on confirmed National District 9 Tournament dates and locations in due course.