The 2023 National Boys Youth Tournament has not disappointed, with the stage now set for the Grand Finals. In their first tournament stint as a District, Waikato 16s have exceeded expectations by making it all the way to the big dance to face a strong Scorpions outfit. In a massive campaign for the Southern Zone, both their 16s and 18s teams have earned title contention, with the 18s set for a 2022 Grand Final rematch against the Counties Manukau Stingrays.
The 16s Boys Grand Final match-up was set after a dominating victory by the South Island Scorpions and a hard-earned win by the Waikato young men. The Scorpions outfit put the Auckland Vulcans to the sword, winning 24-0, while Waikato fought and outlasted the Akarana Falcons 22-14. The 16s Grand Final between the Scorpions and Waikato will be played on Puketawhero Park Field 1 at 11:00 am, scheduled for live-stream on the NZRL YouTube page. In this match-up, players to watch out for include Lennox Tuiloma, Turama Paranihi, and Te Kororangi Joshua Cowan. The final to determine 3rd place of the 16s Boys grade will be played prior between the Auckland Vulcans and Akarana Falcons at 9:00 am on Puketawhero Park Field 2.
The Grand Final in the 18s grade sees an exciting rematch of the 2022 Grand Final between the South Island Scorpions and Counties Manukau Stingrays. In 2022, the Counties side dominated, comfortably claiming the title 28-12. In their semi-final, the Stingrays secured their spot in the final after beating the Akarana Falcons 16-8. Meanwhile, the Scorpions showed their dominance in their semi-final against the Vulcans, winning 22-4. The Grand Final will be played at 12:30 pm on Puketawhero Park Field 1, to be live-streamed on the NZRL YouTube page. This final will feature several recognisable standout players taking the field, including 2022 MVP Rodney Vea-Tuipulotu, Meihana Pauling, and Te Kaio Cranwell. The 3rd place final will be played earlier between the Auckland Vulcans and Akarana Falcons boys at 10:15 am on Puketawhero Park Field 4.
National Boys Youth Tournament Finals Draw – Friday 27th September
Grand Final – South Island Scorpions v Waikato 11:00 am (Puketawhero Park Field 1*)
3rd/4th place final – Auckland Vulcans v Akarana Falcons 9:00 am (Puketawhero Park Field 2)
Grand Final – South Island Scorpions v Counties Manukau Stingrays 12:30 pm (Puketawhero Park Field 1*)
3rd/4th place final – Auckland Vulcans v Akarana Falcons 10:15 am (Puketawhero Park Field 4)
*live-streamed game on youtube.com/@NZRugbyLeague
For the entire National Boys Youth Tournament finals day draw and to keep up with all the action, visit linktr.ee/nzrlgrassroots