New Zealand fans will get the opportunity to watch the Kiwi Ferns play a warm-up match on home soil before they contest the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017, which kicks off in Sydney in exactly 100 days.
The Kiwi Ferns will fine-tune their World Cup preparations by playing New Zealand Maori Wahine Toa at Waikato Stadium ahead of the men’s RLWC2017 pool match between Samoa and Tonga on Saturday 4 November 2017.
Kiwi Ferns captain Sarina Fiso said: “This game against New Zealand Maori Wahine Toa will give the squad the best possible preparation for this year’s Women’s Rugby League World Cup as well as providing the opportunity to play in front of family and friends, which means so much to the team.”
“It will also give us a taste of the Rugby League World Cup atmosphere before we head across to Australia,” she concluded.
New Zealand are co-hosts of the men’s tournament and will stage seven games of what will be the biggest rugby league event the country has ever hosted. The addition of the Kiwi Ferns and New Zealand Maori Wahine Toa contest only enhances this special occasion.
RLWC2017 New Zealand General Manager Andrea Nelson said: “It’s great to be able to give the Kiwi Ferns the opportunity to play on home soil in front of the New Zealand public before they travel across the Tasman for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.”
“With ticket prices starting from $45 for a family of four, it will be a great chance for fans to watch two games for a very affordable price,” she concluded.
The Kiwis Ferns have been drawn in Pool B of this year’s Women’s Rugby League World Cup and will play Canada (November 16), Cook Islands (November 19) and Papua New Guinea (November 22) in the pool stages.
Chairman of New Zealand Maori Rugby League John Devonshire said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the New Zealand Maori Wahine Toa team to be playing on such a huge occasion with a great atmosphere.
“It’s also a great chance for our players to test themselves and help the Kiwi Ferns prepare for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.”
Previously part of the user-pays Festival of World Cups, this year’s tournament will be first time the Women’s Rugby League World Cup has been held as a standalone event, with the pool matches to be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla (Sydney) as triple-headers on November 16, 19 and 22 with the semi-finals to be played as a double-header on November 26.
The tournament will see both the men’s and women’s finals played as a double-header in Brisbane on 2 December 2017 – the first time two World Cup winners will be crowned on the same day, on the same stage.
Australia, Canada, Cook Islands, England, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea will be the six teams to contest this year’s tournament.
Australia are the reigning champions with the Kiwi Ferns vying to win back the trophy they won in 2000, 2005 and 2008.