March 19 2022
Counties Manukau Stingrays tie 26- 26 with Akarana Falcons in round 2 of the NZRL National 20s competition at Auckland Trusts Stadium.
Counties opened the scoring with a try from Maddison Tekeu on the 2min mark. Followed by another try from Pesalili Ma, who was able to find space up the right edge and, with a ton of pace, sprinted from one end of the field to the other to put Counties in front with a two-score lead.
Akarana hit back with a superb play spreading the ball left to right through Joshua Tanielu’s offload pass to teammate Sebastian Hindt to put Akarana on the board.
Counties gained back their momentum as they steamrolled down the field before Teariki Ford chipped the ball into space, beautifully bounced for him to catch and score under the post. Akaranas wing, Tuipala Faaee, found himself in trouble, diving in with his legs after Ford had grounded the ball resulting in a yellow card and an 8 point try for Counties.
With 3 mins to go for the first half, Akarana were desperate for more points before heading into the sheds. Benefiting from two errors from Counties, Akarana saw Ratima emerge from the scrum up the right edge to secure them four more points before the whistle. Counties Manukau Stingrays led Akarana Falcons 20-8 at halftime.
Counites momentum continued into the first few minutes of the second half as Ford grubbers into open space, closely followed by Samuel Hansen to catch and score.
With the score margin increasing, Akarana continued aggressiveness, leading to 3 back-to-back tries. Captin Doux Fiatau-Kauhiva busted through the solid Counties defence to score their first points of the half. Minutes later, Akarana capitalised again, scoring another through Kenneth-Seth Henery-Taua, who quickly went over the line untouched to close the point gap slightly.
With 5mins left, the Counties defence fought hard to hold their ground, but Akarana were too aggressive and saw prop Paaua Papuni-Abbott with an extraordinary run to close the score gap.
After a tough back and forth contest in the last 2mins of the game, the final hooter sounded 26-26.
Counties Manukau Stingrays – 26
Maddison Tekeu, Pesalili Ma, Teariki Ford, Samuel Hansen
Teariki Ford (4/4)
Akarana Falcons – 26
Sebastian Hindt, Ratima, Doux Fiatau-Kauhiva, Kenneth-Seth Henery-Taua, Paaua Papuni-Abbott
Tuipala Faaee (3/5)
12 March 2022
The Upper Central Stallions emerged 48-12 winners over Waikato Mana in Round 1 of the NZRL National 20s Ruben Wiki Cup at Davies Park, Huntly.
Trevel Garninner-Hano opened the scoring on the left edge after five minutes of play as Xavier Mitchell-Windsor slid between the Waikato defence and found the winger to get on the board.
Stallion’s winger Jericho Yorke found himself in space after a superb break, finding Gardner-Hano for his second after a quarter of the match gone. Minutes later, Upper Central capitalised again, scoring another through winger Bailey Mohi Lyttle to grow their advantage.
Desperation from the Waikato side saw Te Poria Marsh stretch himself over the line to claw the Mana back into the contest.
With seconds left in the half, Upper Central captain Dayna Bidois crossed over, wrestling the game back into the Stallion’s favour as they went into the break up 18-6.
The Stallions imposed their will to start the second stanza as Xavier Mitchell-Winsor went over after the restart. Keanu Watson-Tautau then backed him up, using his footwork to score another try to give his team a commanding 30-6 lead.
With the Stallions dominating the game, Waikato managed to find a four-pointer against the run of play through Jardyn Watene, opening their account in the second half.
Upper Central hit right back through winger Jericho Yorke and moments later, Gardner-Hano, who completed his hat trick. Stallions full-back Ravyn Whetu sliced through Waikato with only minutes remaining to secure their first win of 2022.
Upper Central Stallions 48 (Trevel Garniner-Hano x3, Bailey Mohi Lyttle, Dayna Bidois, Xavier Mitchell-Winsor, Keanu Watson-Tautau, Jericho Yorke, Ravyn Whetu
Waikato Mana 12 (Te Poria Marsh, Jardyn Watene)
10 April 2021
Despite the pouring rain at Opaheke Park, the 2021 National 20s Grand Final was one to remember. Central Districts were crowned 2021 NZRL National 20s Champions after upsetting Auckland Blue 18-14 in a dramatic final showdown.
Auckland Blue were dominant throughout the first half as Viliami Finau opened the scoring after just five minutes with a try in the corner. Central Districts hit back but Auckland’s Jeremiah Schuster’s scored before the break giving the home side a 10-4 lead at half-time.
Minutes into the second half Central Districts scored through Lennix Tovo and for the following half hour dominated most of the match, aided by Auckland wing Albert Fifita being sent to the sin bin with 25 to go for a professional foul.
Further tries to Wyatt So’otaga and Herman Seumanufagai, both of which were converted by Brooklyn Herewini, stretched the Central Districts lead to 18-10.
The late try to Taufa gave Auckland a chance at a dramatic comeback with less than one minute remaining, but Central Districts held on handing Auckland Blue their first loss of the competition.
Congratulations to Central Districts the 2021 NZRL National 20s Champions.
12 March 2021
A full round of rugby league actions returns this weekend where all teams will face off in Round 3 of the NZRL National 20s Competition.
Central Districts, coming off an impressive 32-20 comeback win last weekend, will be looking to continue that momentum when they face Auckland White on Saturday, 12pm at Opaheke. This will be followed by Northland v Waicoa Bay at 2pm, two teams both hungry for their first victory.
Sunday will see Auckland Blue come up against South Island at Nga Puna Wai, a team that will be hungry for redemption as they look to put last week’s defeat against Central Districts behind them and maintain the top of the table momentum.
Opaheke Reserve, Auckland
Saturday 13th March
Nga Puna Wai, Christchurch
Sunday 14th March
07 March 2021
The only game of the round was a 13 try spectacle where the home team came away with a hard-fought win.
Central Districts opened the scoring with a try to winger Herman Seumanufagai on the two-minute mark before the South Island hit back via fullback Mapu Uasi.
Central Districts were next to answer through centre Carlos Kemp as he dotted over for their second four-pointer, but the South Island hit back straight away through powerhouse front-rower George Faaiva.
The Southlanders found their momentum as they steamrolled down the field before Captain Sincere Harraway dotted through the defence to set up the South Island’s third through winger Jack Skipper.
An unlucky error from Central Districts then saw loose forward Kyle Amer barge over for the South Island’s fourth.
Central Districts hit back 30 seconds before half time through Moses Galuvao shortening the half time deficit to six as the South Island went to the sheds with a 20 -14 lead.
Central Districts entered the second forty with all the momentum as centre Carlos Kemp earned his second try of the day reducing the deficit to just two. Winger Pose Tuilaepa then capitalised on a highball, skilfully planting it down to put Central Districts in the lead 22 – 20.
The momentum continued as winger Herman Seumanufagai went over for his second after a clinical offload from fullback Tipene Reweti. However, an error on their line gifted South Island winger Levi Collins with a try under the posts reducing it back to a two-point game.
Central District’s Malachi Ti’a soon spotted a gap and a powerhouse run saw him barge over for his first of the game, extending Central Districts lead 32-26.
South Island fullback Mapu Uasi reduced the deficit to two but Central Districts held on as the final hooter sounded 32-30.
4 March 2021
This Sunday 7 March clash between Central Districts and the South Island is the only game for Round Two due to the Covid-19 reschedule.
Central Districts are coming off a second half comeback loss to Auckland in which they will be looking to prove themselves against the South Island team. The South Island team will be looking to follow on from their convincing 56 to 14 victory over Northland.
PLEASE NOTE – This game will have NO CROWDS due to Covid-19 restrictions while the remaining Round Two games (Northland vs. Auckland White and Waicoa Bay vs. Auckland Blue) have been rescheduled to take place on Friday, 2 April in Opaheke, Auckland.
All National 20s games are available live on Sky Sport 4 and Fox League, Kayo and Watch NRL for our Australian viewers.
Jerry Collins Stadium, Wellington
Sunday 7th March 2021
27 February 2021
A late surge saw Auckland Blue beat Central Districts 34-18 in the opening round of the NZRL National 20s at Opaheke Sports Park.
After trailing 18-12 at the break, Auckland Blue fought back with four second-half tries to record victory.
Earlier Central Districts prop Memphis Hennessy opened the scoring after just two minutes, before Auckland hit back via Stanley Iongi and Samuel Hansen.
But Central Districts didn’t go away and hooker Wyatt So-otaga sliced through defence to score on the 26th minute followed by another four-pointer to Kayin Katene to give them an 18-12 lead at half time.
In the second spell the momentum shifted when co-captain Zyon Maiu’u burrowed over on the 46th minute, before Iongi crossed for his second to extend the lead to 24-18.
Minutes later Maiu’u crashed over again, followed by a try to Mangere East’s Junior Moli to secure victory.
Halfback Caleb Laiman was excellent off the boot, converting all but one try.
Auckland Blue will play Wai-Coa-Bay at Rotorua International Stadium in Rd 2 next Saturday.
Auckland Blue 34 (Stanley Iongi x2, Samuel Hansen, Zyon Maiu’u x2, Junior Moli tries; Caleb Laiman x5 conversions) def. Central Districts 18 (Memphis Hennessy, Wyatt So-otaga, Kayin Katene tries; Brooklyn Herewini x3 conversions) at Opaheke Sports Park.
24 February 2021
New Zealand Rugby League will kick off its inaugural National 20s Competition this Saturday 27 February when Auckland Blue take on Central Districts at 2pm Opaheke Auckland, followed by Waicoa Bay v Auckland White at Rotorua International Stadium 4pm.
Sunday 28th will see the South Island take on Northland at 12pm down at Nga Puna Wai Stadium in Christchurch.
All games will be televised live on Sky Sport 4, and for Australian viewers games available on Fox League, Kayo and Watch NRL.
NZRL GM of High Performance and Football, Motu Tony says: “We have been working hard to improve the pathways we provide for our young rugby league players in New Zealand.”
“Our rangatahi are vital to the domestic and professional success of the code, the average age of an NRL debutant is now 21, so it’s crucial we are developing and strengthening this age group as much as we can at home. This competition also allows coaches, managers, trainers and match officials to gain further development and experience.
“The 20s Competition allows us to foster budding rugby league talent from up and down the country and the potential NZRL 2022 SG Ball team adds another layer of incentive for our young players.”
Saturday 27th FebAuckland Blue v Central Districts – 2pm Opaheke Auckland Waicoa Bay v Auckland White – 4pm Rotorua International Stadium Sunday 28th FebSouth Island v Northland – 12pm Nga Puna Wai Christchurch
29 January 2021
New Zealand Rugby League will kick off its inaugural National 20s Competition on Saturday 27 February 2021. The round-robin competition will play over five consecutive weeks with the two top placed teams set to face off in the final the weekend of April 2.
The NZRL National 20s Competition involves six teams from across New Zealand with Zones and appropriate Districts represented.
Auckland hosts two teams as Auckland Rugby League, Akarana and Counties Manukau join forces to create an Auckland Blue and Auckland White team. Other teams represented include Northland; Wai-Coa Bay, with the inclusion of Waikato, Hauraki, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Coastline Districts; Central Districts, including Manawatu, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay and Wellington; and South Island, including Tasman, Canterbury, West Coast, Aoraki, Southland and Otago Districts.
The NZRL National 20s Competition will showcase future Kiwis from across the country as this inaugural comp looks to shine a spotlight on New Zealand’s development talent as they pave their way for elite professional contracts.
All games will be televised live on Sky Sport, Sky Sport Now and for Australian viewers, Kayo and FOXSPORTS Linear.