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April 10 2023

It was a dominant showing by Auckland in the 18s finals today as the 09 took home both Championship trophies in the Boys’ and Girls’ divisions.

It was a battle between North and South in the 18s Boys’ final, where Auckland faced up against long-time rivals Canterbury.

Canterbury dropped the ball straight from the kick-off, foreshadowing what would come in the boys’ final.

Auckland were clinical capitalising off the Canterbury error to score back-to-back tries but the 09’s discipline wavered, allowing Canterbury to mount their first points.

Auckland came out firing in the second half rolling 60 metres downfield to score their third try. Canterbury’s errors within their half continued to cost them as Auckland gained attacking momentum setting up their fourth four-pointer.

Auckland’s kick chase placed Canterbury’s fullback under pressure as the 09 would scoop up the loose ball to score, claiming the 18s Boys’ Championship with a 24-4 victory.

The Girls’ final shortly followed, and  Auckland Red were switched on from the whistle; an effective kick-off forced an error, setting Red up for their first try of the final.

Some physical defensive sets by both sides kept the scoring at bay until late in the first half.

A line break and excellent support play by Auckland White earned them a try, equalising the score to 4-4 at halftime.

The second half saw Auckland Red come back firing, dominating possession and gameplay to score four unanswered tries.

Auckland Red claimed victory with a final score of 20-4 over Auckland White, making them the 2023 U18 9s National Champions.

10 April 2023

The third and final day of the NZRL National 9s Tournament kicked off with the 18s boys’ semi-final clash between the North and South.

Canterbury was first to put points on the board with a left edge overlap putting Ezekiel Petelo-Paulo over for their first four-pointer.

Costly Northland errors gifted Canterbury more attacking possession as the Cantabrians quickly answered back with another try and an eight-point leading heading into the break.

It was all the Southerners as they struck again seconds into the half off the back of another Northland error extending their lead.

Canterbury dotted down three consecutive tries with momentum on their side, but a late consolation try to Northland wasn’t enough as Canterbury advanced to the final with a 26-4 victory.

Auckland faced the Capital in the second boy’s semi-final shortly after.

With accurate kicking and excellent pace, a strong start by the Auckland side saw them head to the sheds with a 10-0 lead at halftime. Wellington fought hard to come back in the second half with two well-earned tries and a conversion, narrowly putting them ahead 12-10.

In a last-minute upset, Auckland utilised their swift right edge again to score and secure their place in the final with a 14-12 victory.

Auckland will face Canterbury in the 18s Boys final live at 1:30pm.

Top of the table Auckland White were first to mount points against Waikato in the first girls’ 18s semi-final.

A line break from Auckland saw centre Gillian Fa’aumu run 100m downfield to score Auckland’s second try moments after.

Waikato answered back with a lovely overlap on their right edge, scoring their first points of the day, and bringing the halftime deficit back to within one try.

Waikato put themselves back into good attacking position after barging runs from their middle forwards, but a costly error saw a try go begging. Auckland bounced back, going over their third shortly after shifting momentum back in their favour.

Waikato’s effort never wavered, getting themselves another four-pointer right before the final whistle; however it wasn’t to be as Auckland White head to the final with a 12-8 victory.

The second girls’ semi-final clash was a battle of the ’09 as Auckland Red and Blue faced off.

The match showcased great physicality and ball play between the two girls’ teams. However, it was Auckland Red that came out firing, scoring three unanswered tries within the first half. Following the break, Auckland Blue did well to score but were dominated by the Red side, who took the win 18-4, booking them a spot in the girls’ grand final.

Auckland will face off against one another in the National 18s Girl’s final at 2:00pm today.


Boys 18s FINAL Canterbury v Auckland 1:30pm

Girls 18s FINAL Auckland Red v Auckland White 2:00pm



9 April 2023

Wellington played Northland in the Girls’ 16s Final, where the girls from the capital put on a dominant performance.

Looking to avenge their finals loss last year, Wellington came out firing drawing first blood. Costly errors kept Northland under pressure in the first half as Wellington went into the sheds with a 10-0 lead.

Wellington continued their momentum into the second half scoring two back-to-back tries. A last-ditch effort from the Northlanders wasn’t enough, as the Wellington Orcas were crowned U16s Girls’ Champions with a 20-6 win over Northland.

Canterbury took on tournament dark horse Manawatu in the Boys’ 16s final.

The Southern 9s Champions opened the scoring with a clever dummy half run as Ill-discipline would cost Manawatu.

Brilliant individual skill gave Canterbury their second; however, Manawatu found their groove as quick play the balls scored them their first points of the game.

Errors from Canterbury in their own half cost them as Manawatu scooped up a loose ball levelling the score right before half-time.

The second half was an arm wrestle with both sides tight on defence. However, Canterbury took their chances with a lovely cut-out pass, putting their winger over to gain the lead.

Manawatu, in a last-ditch effort pulled off a slick draw & pass evening the score at full-time.

The final quickly turned into a golden point match.

A costly error in Canterbury’s play the ball gave Manawatu possession 20 metres out from the Southerners’ line.

Manawatu would use this to snatch the title running over to claim the U16s 9s Championship 18-14.


9 April 2023


The U16s playoffs kicked off day 2 of NZRL National 9s, where Wellington took on Auckland in the first girls’ semi-final.

It was all Wellington in the first half as the Capital managed to keep Auckland in their own forty, scoring two unanswered tries. The Capital kept their momentum in the second stint running away with a convincing 20-4 win booking them a spot in the girls’ final.

Canterbury then took on Northland in the second semi, where it was an even match-up between North and South with one try a piece heading into halftime.

But it was the Northlanders that came out firing in the second stint, scoring two back-to-back tries to book themselves a spot in the U16s girls’ final against Wellington with a 12-10 victory.

The boys’ playoffs followed shortly after, where Canterbury took on Otago in the first semi-final. The Cantabrians dominated, scoring four unanswered tries to book their spot in the final, 24-0.

Wellington then took on Manawatu in the second semi. A clever barge through the middle saw Wellington open up the scoring, but Manawatu answered back with four unanswered tries to win 24-6

Wellington will take on Northland in the Girls’ final at 1:30pm and Canterbury will face Manawatu in the Boys’ final at 2pm. Both games live on Sky Sport 4.




02 June 2021

NZRL is pleased to announce an inaugural National District 9s Tournament will take place in early 2022 involving four age group divisions: 16s Boys, 16s Girls, 18s Boys and 18s Girls. 

The National District 9s will entail three stages:

District Tournaments – Early 2022, the districts across New Zealand are invited to run 9s Tournaments for their clubs to enter, to which districts will then select teams for each applicable age group to enter the ‘Regional Tournaments.’

Regional Tournaments – Selected district teams will then battle it out at the Regional Qualifier Tournaments held throughout the country, managed by the zones and Auckland Rugby League (in Auckland), for a place in the National District 9s Tournament.

National District 9s Tournament – The top qualifying eight district teams (per age group) will compete in the National 9s Tournament in April 2022. The National District 9s Tournament will collectively see 32 teams compete with a 16s Boys Champion, 16s Girls Champion, 18s Boys Champion and 18s Girls Champion, all crowned at the conclusion of the tournament.

David McMeeken, National Football Operations Manager at NZRL, says: “The 9s format is a proven successful entry point for rugby league as it nurtures and grows the game at a district level.”

“Auckland Rugby League (ARL) is the only district in the country that offers a weekly competition in the girls’ space, to which they also accommodate two Waikato clubs in their competition. The ARL started with the 9s format to introduce the game and have seen evergrowing success since with seven U18s, 13 U16s and 12 U14s girls teams. 

“The goal is to see other districts emulate this and build momentum and participation numbers in both boys’ and girls’ age groups. The new District 9s Tournament brings that competition back at a regional level while fostering and developing rangatahi talent throughout the country. It’s great for the game and an exciting addition to the football calendar.”

Luisa Avaiki, Head of Women’s Rugby League at NZRL, says: “There is significant and growing interest in the girls’ game across the country and it’s formats like the 9s that enable this.”

“We have 16 girls teams who have expressed interest to attend the inaugural NZRL National Secondary Schools Girl’s Tournament in August. A lot of this comes down to the mahi done by ARL and even New Zealand Māori Rugby League (NZMRL), who offer a platform for Kotiro to represent their people at the Rangatahi tournaments. 

“I’m beyond delighted that we can now offer a National District 9s Tournament to continue this momentum. It’s a significant milestone and one that hopefully encourages girls from every district across New Zealand to get involved and fall in love with rugby league.”

NZRL will release further details on confirmed National District 9 Tournament dates and locations in due course.