27 September 2021

New Zealand Rugby League is pleased to announce the National Youth Tournament returns for 2021, albeit in a revised weekly competition format to cater to Covid gathering restrictions.

The 2021 National Youth Competition will take place over three weekends instead of its usual one-week tournament format, kicking off this Saturday, 2nd October.

Despite pandemic setbacks, the best of New Zealand’s rangatahi talent will be on display as Zones battle it out for the highly contested 16s and 18s age group titles.

Both 16s and 18s competitions for this year will comprise of two pools:

Pool A – South Island Scorpions, Wellington Orcas, Mid Central Vipers, Upper Central Stallions and Northern Swords.

Pool B – Counties Manukau, Akarana Falcons and Auckland Vulcans.

Pool A will kick off this Saturday 2nd October, while Pool B can only begin once Auckland is in Level 2, subject to the October 4 announcement.

The 2021 Youth Competition Final will see the top of Pool A take on top of Pool B, in both 16 and 18 age groups, on Saturday, October 30.

Motu Tony, GM of Football and High Performance at NZRL says, “We were close to having to go two years without the Youth Competition due to Covid disruptions, but to see it ready to kick off in 2021, albeit a new format, is a great accomplishment.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for these age group players, as it can be a steppingstone to NZ representative teams, our 20s competition and potential professional pathways. The high number of Kiwi NRL debutants  this NRL season who have played in our national tournaments and representative teams has been pleasing. This shows how important it is to hold our national tournaments as it provides our rangatahi with opportunities that can positively impact their lives on and off the field.”

Tony adds, “Thank you to the Zones, Districts and all NZRL staff who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the Youth Competition was possible. I’m looking forward to seeing the calibre of our young talent on display come October.”

Over the past ten years, the NZRL Youth Tournament has been home to some of the biggest NRL and Kiwi names such as Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Fisher-Harris, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Dylan Brown and many more.

NZRL will release the full National Youth Competition draws early this week.

No crowds are permitted at National Youth Competition games while at Alert Level 2.