A passionate rendition of Te Iwi Kiwi from the NZ18s set the bar for what would be a tough battle between two high-quality sides. France U19s were full of confidence fresh off two wins against Waikato and Canterbury, and the NZ 18s were eager to kick off their 2019 campaign with a win – this game was set to be a good one.

Nine minutes into the match, Canterbury prop Caius Faatili, rolled over for New Zealand’s first try, impressively the Canterbury Bulls star is also set to take the field at the NZRL Premiership final on Saturday against Akarana.

Eighteen minutes in France scored their first points as Thomas Soler showed good pace to run away with an intercept try. NZ hit back shortly after as Jonah Palota-Kopa dived on a grubber from Coleman to make it 10 – 4. NZ continued its dominance throughout the rest of the half with Caius rolling over for his second in the 27th minute soon followed by back to back tries to Jordan Coleman, Taniela Otukolo and Semisi Tapa. NZ’s attack proving too much for France with six tries to one during the first forty, half time score: 32 – 4.

New Zealand continued to dominate on attack as Feao Tongia opened the second half scoring soon followed by a try to Caleb Pese to make it 44 – 4. However, any thoughts of it being a one-sided match were quickly put to bed as France mounted an impressive comeback. The French starved NZ of possession for most of the second half, although at times made easy by the NZ’s own handling errors, France showed pace and attacking smarts to score 22 unanswered points in the second forty, with tries to Thomas Lacans, Jason Goffin, Matthew Cozza and Valentin Zafra.

44 – 26 marked the full-time score as NZ18s came away with the win in what was an entertaining but tough battle between the two sides.  Both teams head to Auckland’s Pulman Park on Sunday as the French set to take on Auckland U19s while the NZ 18s prepare for their clash against TOA Samoa.

After a highly successful 2020 Talent Development Programme held in Cambridge last month, New Zealand Rugby League wishes to announce and congratulate those players who have been selected in the New Zealand Resident 16s and 18s, 26-man squads.

80 of the best 16s and 18s players in the country were put through their paces both on and off the field at the three-day camp, with everything they learnt culminating in two trial matches on the final day. The talent on display left selectors with some difficult decisions to make as players battled it out in hopes of catching the coaches’ eyes.

These squads will assemble on the first Monday of the school holidays, 15 April and 8 July, with a game in October to be announced in the coming months.

New Zealand Resident 16s Wider Squad 2020

AKARANA; Benaiah Ioelu, Zion Maiu’u, Paaua Papuni-Abbott: AUCKLAND; Nathaniel Tangimataiti, Nathaniel Cama, Stanley Iongi, Heneli Luani, Sione Vaihu, Filipo Whitehouse-Opetaia Tovio, Sione Fotuaika: COUNTIES MANUKAU; Ali Leiataua, Ben Peni, Carlos Tarawhiti, Salesi Ataata, Francis Manulelua. MID CENTRAL; Arama Kite, Fatiauma Moeahu-Leota: NORTHLAND; Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro: SOUTHERN; Felix Fa’atili, Jaedon Wellington, Ethan Faitaua, Nikau Waikato, Uriah Tuli: UPPER CENTRAL; Manaia Ngataki-Matthews, Cassius Cowley: WELLINGTON; Joshua Williams.

Head Coach: Bejay Hewitt

Assistant Coaches: Eugene Davis and Chris Langley

Trainers: Sean Witanga

New Zealand Resident 18s Wider Squad 2020

AKARANA; Caleb Pese, Luani Tavake Naufahu Whyte, Moala Graham-Taufa, Jyris Glamuzina, Lani Graham-Taufa, Matthew Palu, Temple Kalepo, Totive Junior Tuileisu: AUCKLAND; Eteru Ropati: COUNTIES MANUKAU; Otukinekina Kepu, Peesi Vailangi Kepu, Semisi Sikei, Taniela Otukolo, Paea Fotu, Quinnlan Tupou, Semisi Tapa, Sione Moala, William Fakatoumafi: MID CENTRAL; Brooklyn Herewini, Tyson Chase: SOUTHERN; Jordan Coleman, Levi Pascoe, Caius Fa’atili. UPPER CENTRAL; Sean Field, Tukimihia Simpkins. WELLINGTON; Dallas McEwan.

Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele

Assistant Coaches: Cody Walker and Daniel McEwan

Trainers: Lee Paru and Jasen McCarthy

Manager: Tania Harris

Physio: Allan Horn

A passionate New Zealand Resident 18s haka and Toa Samoa U18s Siva Tau set the tone for what was a hefty battle up front and it was the New Zealand Resident 18s who capitalized off the first set, Paul Turner crossing the line for the first try.

Only minutes later in front of a packed out crowd at Pulman Park, 2017 New Zealand 16s Player of the Year Christian Tuipulotu put his two cents in putting four more points on the board for the NZ Resident 18s, score 8-0.

When looking at the scoreboard, it may have seemed one sided after the first 15 minutes but the Samoans certainly brought the mongrel pushing the Kiwis back to their own line on several occasions but the black and white defence was too strong.

To add salt to the wound, an intercept from Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard saw the Samoans hard work unravel as they were once again forced back to their own 10 metre mark.

Then Kakoi Togoiu came off the bench and his impact was certainly made known. Much like his teammates in the Toa Samoa U18s forward pack, facing his tackles was not too dissimilar to coming up against a brick wall – bone tingling.

As the minutes ticked by, Samoa forced more and more mistakes from the home side, their defence getting stronger as halftime loomed.

In the black and white jersey, Paul Turner had extra incentive to impress with Junior Kiwis Coach, Ezra Howe watching on. After today’s match where he played for the NZ Resident 18s, Turner will play for the Junior Kiwis in their clash against the Junior Kangaroos next Saturday, the first game of the Trans-Tasman Triple-Header at 3.05pm at Mt Smart.

Both teams were kept scoreless in the final 20 minutes of the first half hitting the sheds with the score at 8-0.

A very composed Toa Samoa U18s side looked promising to score the first four points of the second half but a classy NZ defence took him into touch five metres out from the line. But, the Samoans fought their way back to the same spot, their mounting pressure forcing an uncharacteristic dropped ball from NZ fullback Kayal Iro.

On the back of the hard yards done by the Samoans forward pack, the boys in blue put their first points on the board with Devontai Seumanutafa crashing through the NZ Resident 18s defence, score 8-4 following an unsuccessful conversion.

A second try only minutes later looked imminent but a double movement called for a line drop out instead.

On the back of a few mistakes, NZ came up with the ball in hand, Temple Kalepo seeing space to score under the posts. 12-4 turned into 14-4 when converted by Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard. Paul Turner then joined in on the fun scoring his second try of the day, once again converted by Tuimavave-Gerrard taking the score to 20-4.

Errors plagued both sides in the final 15 minutes bringing countless turnovers.

Then, just what the Toa Samoa U18s were hoping for, a cross field kick sent fullback Jonaiah Lualua across the chalk, the score remaining 20-8 following an unsuccessful conversion.

However, their last minute efforts weren’t enough to overtake the NZ Resident 18s who put another four points on the board just before the final whistle, the NZ Resident 18s triumphant with the final score reading 24-8.

MVP – Paul Turner

NZ Resident 18s 24 (Christian Tuipulotu, Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard, Paul Turner 2, Temple Kalepo tries; Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard 2 goals) Toa Samoa U18s 8 (Jonaiah Lualua & Devontai Seumanutafa tries)

Following trials on the weekend, the New Zealand Resident 18s have been named to take on the TOA Samoa U18s on 6 October at Pulman Park.

The 18-strong team includes two players from last year’s New Zealand 18s team who took on the Australian Schoolboys, Tyler Slade and Paul Turner, who have also been named in the 2018 Junior Kiwis wider squad for the Trans-Tasman Triple-Header on 13 October. Emmanuel Tuimavave-Gerrard and Kayal Iro are also eligible again having played in the NZ Select 18s side which took on the Australian Schoolboys too.

Many of the players have progressed through the New Zealand Rugby League age-group pathways with Christian Tuipulotu having captained the New Zealand 16s team to victory against the New Zealand Maori 17s last year, alongside his vice-captain Temple Kalepo and teammate Caleb Pese.

Brooklyn Herewini’s naming in the 2018 New Zealand Resident 18s side serves as a reward for his fantastic National Talent Development Programme campaign being named as MVP in March this year.  He also represented Manukura School earlier this month staging outstanding performances at the National Secondary Schools Tournament.

New Zealand Resident 18s v TOA Samoa U18s 

Saturday 6 October, 12pm kick off

Pulman Park, Auckland

Number 1 field

Live streamed through NZRL Facebook page

Name Amateur Club* Zone*
Aiden Aue Mt. Albert Akarana
Antonio Aufai Otahuhu Counties
Antonio Poua Otahuhu Counties
Brooklyn Herewini Whanganui Boxon Mid Central
Caleb Pese Richmond Akarana
Christian Tuipulotu Otahuhu Counties
Deighton Ieriko Richmond Akarana
Emmanuel Tuimavave Gerrard Mt. Albert Akarana
Junior Pua Howick Hornets Counties
Kayal Iro Mt. Albert Akarana
Patrick Elia Pt. Chev South Island
Paul Turner Mt. Albert Northland
Potusa Fuilala Otahuhu Counties
Semisi Tapa Otahuhu Counties
Temple Kalepo Richmond Bulldogs Akarana
Tevita Mikaele Otahuhu Counties
Tukimihia Simpkins Pikiao Upper Central
Tyler Slade Ellerslie Akarana

*Recorded as last represented Club / Zone

Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele
Assistant Coaches: Cody Walker
  Daniel McEwan
Manager: Tania Harris
Lead Trainer: Jasen McCarthy
Assistant Trainer: Lee Paru
Physio: Allan Horn

NZRL are now open to receiving applications of interest for the roles of Assistant Coach for the New Zealand Resident 18s.

Applications close on Sunday 29 July 2018.

If you wish to apply you must be available for the following dates:

Saturday 15 September 2018 (Auckland based training)

Wednesday 3 – Saturday 6 October (Campaign, Auckland based)

Successful shortlisted applicants must be available to interview on Thursday 2 August 2018

To view job description for this role, click here.

If you are interested in this role please send your covering letter and coaching CV (stating your last three (3) years of coaching experience and most recent coaching qualifications) to: [email protected] before the allocated time and date.

If you have any questions of queries please contact Gary Peacham: 021 274 6975 or email: [email protected]

NZRL are now open to receiving applications of interest for the roles of Head Coach for the New Zealand Resident 18s and the Junior Kiwis.

Applications close for the NZ RESIDENT 18S HEAD COACH & JUNIOR KIWIS HEAD COACH roles at 5pm on Friday 29 June 2018.

Successful shortlisted applicants must be available to interview on Thursday 5 July or Friday 6 July 2018

Junior Kiwis Head Coach Job Description, click here

NZ Resident 18s Head Coach Job Description, click here

If you are interested in the roles please send your covering letter and coaching CV to: [email protected] before the allocated time and date.

If you have any questions or queries please contact Gary Peacham: 021 274 6975 or email: [email protected]