01 October 2023
The Auckland Vulcans and Counties Manukau Stingrays battled it out for the NZRL National Premiership title at Pukekohes’ Navigation Homes this Sunday afternoon.
However, it was the Vulcans that steamrolled the first forty minutes with nine consecutive tries in a clinical attacking display that never wavered.
The Vulcans scored five quick tries in the first 15 minutes of the half through co-captain Francis Leger, Levi Atiga, Samuel Desmond and other co-captain Simone Feao, who earned a double.
The Counties’ defence struggled to keep up with the Vulcans attacking momentum. Fullback Sefanaia Cowley-Lupo went over for Auckland’s fifth with consecutive tries shortly after to Freedom Vahaakolo and Patrick Sipley.
With a 38-0 score line in the 30th minute, Counties finally found possession. However, a lost ball over the try line saw points go begging. The Vulcans answered back quickly with a try to centre Fiohiva Faingaa, making it 44-0 at the break, a tough hill to climb for the depleted Stingrays.
The Vulcans opened the second half with a try to Levi Atiga, but the Stingrays’ second-rower, Ngarima Pita, finally put Counties on the board through a barging run up the middle, making it 50-6.
Vulcans co-captain Sione Feao answered back quickly with his hattrick as the Auckland dominance continued. Further tries to Sam Ngati, Makaia Tafua and a fourth to Sione Feao sealed the win 70-6.
The Auckland Vulcans were crowned NZRL National Premiers in a clinical 14-try display over Counties Manukau.
8 October 2022
After the return of the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) National Secondary Schools Tournament (NSST) and the inaugural NZRL National Girls Youth Tournament, New Zealand Rugby League is proud to announce the first-ever 16’s and 18’s Girls representative fixtures. The two-week-long tournaments displayed the growth in the female game, and these fixtures will be another step in the pathway to becoming the next generation of Kiwi Fern talent.
The 16’s age group will see an Auckland Invitational team take on Aotearoa Whaanui, with the match-up displaying the best young talent from across the motu, Whilst in the 18’s, The girls will play out the Clubs vs Schools fixture that began in 2020.
The 16’s game will showcase the talent and depth in the girl’s game. The Wellington cohort of Billie Va’a, Jayda Maniapoto and Trinity Tauaneai headline an exciting and balanced Aotearoa Whaanui, which has strike all across the park.
Finals MVP Josinah Filisi Tauiliili leads her Auckland team out after an outstanding performance in the 16’s grand final. She is joined by teammate Danii-Nicole Gray and the exciting Tayla-Benet Masoe, who played at the back for the Auckland Vulcans.
Auckland Rugby League’s Head of Schools and Female Pathways, Mary Passi, commented on the fixture, “With the increase of numbers in our female game here in Auckland, it’s another great opportunity for our Auckland players to test themselves against the best talent from around Aotearoa. It’s great to see several Auckland players selected across all teams.”
The 18 Clubs vs Schools clash has a plethora of talent littered throughout the fixture. NSST MVP Sharnyze Pihema headlines the School’s squad, which possess many players from both tournaments. School’s fullback Braxton Sorensen-McGee was a standout in both tournaments, as she also led the Counties 16’s to a grand final win. Giovanna Suani and NZRL 16’s Youth Tournament MVP and top try scorer Seriah Palepale also round out a strong Schools squad.
The NZ Clubs outfit can also show off star power throughout their 19. Youth Tournament MVP Tamisha Tulua was outstanding out the back for Counties, and the edge back row of Tatiana and Claudia Finau caused havoc on their way to the 18’s title. Locking up the middle is Upper Central’s Alexis Tauaneai, who was a problem for every team in the competition, using her strength, footwork and distribution ability to be dangerous every time she touched the ball.
Head of Women’s Rugby League, Luisa Avaiki, said, “New Zealand Rugby League intends to enhance female participation and opportunities in our youth grades. It has been such a pleasure to see the success of the inaugural NZRL Girls National Youth Tournament. “
“To have teams from all across the motu attend and represent their zones and districts has been an exciting start to the growth and potential of the youth girls space.”
“The talent on display throughout the week was extraordinary and impressive. It maintains how vital these pathways are for any aspiring young girl who wants to reach higher levels of representation. It is an exciting time for the female game.”
Congratulations to all players and staff selected!
Get down to North Harbour Stadium on October 23, or watch all the action live on Sky Sport!
Auckland Invitational 16 Girls versus Aotearoa Whaanui 16 Girls; Sunday 23 October, 12 pm. North Harbour Stadium
New Zealand Schools Girls versus New Zealand Clubs Girls; Sunday 23 October, 2 pm. North Harbour Stadium
16s AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL VS AOTEAROA WHAANUI
AOTEAROA WHAANUI 16 GIRLS
AUCKLAND INVITATIONAL 16 GIRLS
18S CLUBS V SCHOOLS
18 GIRLS NZ CLUBS SQUAD:
18 GIRLS NZ SCHOOLS SQUAD: