New Zealand Rugby League have named their New Zealand Resident 18s and Taurahere wider squads for their September 23 match-up.
The two sides will face off against each other in hopes of earning a spot in the New Zealand 18s team who will take on the Australian Schoolboys in late September.
The last time a NZ 18s fixture took place in 2015 the NZ Resident 18s were defeated by the Australian Schoolboys in both encounters.
This year presents the first opportunity for players at 18s level to wear the black jersey. The selection for this team will include not only the best of those residing in New Zealand (NZ Residents 18s), but also New Zealanders currently playing in Australia (Taurahere) to create a New Zealand 18s side that represents the best of New Zealand.
New Zealand 18s Head Coach Ezra Howe says the fixtures will further strengthen the NZRL pathways for those wanting to reach the pinnacle of rugby league in New Zealand.
“This is a great opportunity for the boys to put their best foot forward playing against Australia while enjoying being in an elite environment.
“Players like James Fisher-Harris who was part of the Taurahere programme when it first started back in 2014, show that these pathways provide a good foundation to then go on and represent New Zealand at the highest level.
“I know this fixture will see a good standard of football being played from both teams with many talented boys to take the field.
“Being a part of these programmes is just as rewarding for the coaching staff as it is for the players so I am thankful to NZRL for this opportunity,” he says.
Both sides will be cut down to 18-man squads by September 12 ahead of the fixture.
New Zealand Resident 18s v Taurahere
Saturday 23 September
Bruce Pulman Park, Auckland
New Zealand Resident 18s wider squad:
*last zone represented as per LeagueNet
Akarana: Chanel Harris-Tevita, Elijah Sufia, Emanuel Gerard Tuimavave, Javvier Pitovao, Lewis Afeaki, Lewis Sio, Matt Timoko, Reagan Mclennan, Soane Hufanga, Starford Toa, Tyler Slade, Vito Tevaga; Auckland Development: Tutuki Kamana-Pou; Counties: Asu Kepaoa, Dredin Sorenson-McGee, Israel Ogden, Keanu Laumati-Paki; Mid Central: Awatere Kiwara, Wesley Veikoso; Northland: Paul Turner; Southern: Daniel Sakisi, Jordan Riki, Seth Tauamiti; Upper Central: Hayze Perham, Sheldon Rogers.
Head Coach – Moehewa Armstrong
Assistant Coach – Alan Ettles
Manager – Ben Vaipaata
Trainer – Marrin Haggie
Physio – Ulima Tofi
Taurahere wider squad:
Brisbane Broncos: Dre Ngatui-Woe; Canberra Raiders: Sebastian Kris; Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs: Lauchlan Talau, Tommy Talau; Cronulla Sharks: Cruise Topai-Aveai; Gold Coast Titans: Moeaki Fotuaika, Darius Farmer, Jackson Paulo, Reihana Marsh; Manly Sea Eagles: Semisi Kioa, Zaane Weatherall, Keith Titums, Mark Tepu-Smith; Newcastle Knights: Will Finau; North Queensland Cowboys: Murray Taulagi, Sean Mullany, Peter Hola; Parramatta Eels: Haze Dunster, Joseph Taipari, Oregan Kaufusi, Vallance Harris, John Fonua, Tui Afuola; Penrith Panthers: Sean Blore; South Sydney Rabbitohs: Mawene Hiroti, Tyrone Taukamo; St. George Illawarra Dragons: Steven Marsters ; Sydney Roosters: Baylee Bentley-Hape.
Head Coach – Rangi Hiroti
Assistant Coach – Tim McIntyre
Manager – Antony Bosley
Trainer – Lee Paru
Physio – David Close