Tickets are on sale at 12pm today for the Australia vs New Zealand Double-Header Test matches set to take place on October 25th at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Thousands of rugby league fans are expected to join the strong local support for the only Test Matches scheduled on Australian soil in 2019.
“The Australia-New Zealand rivalry is a special one and it will be the only occasion this year fans can witness both the male and female teams competing in official Test Matches,” NRL Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Abdo said.
“It is the best players in both the NRL and NRLW competing for the unofficial title of the world’s best.
“We hosted a great crowd for the last international played in Wollongong in 2014, and we are excited to be returning to this important rugby league region again this year.”
It will be the first time the Australian Kangaroos have faced the New Zealand Kiwis at WIN Stadium, with the women’s sides having clashed at the venue back in 2014.
New Zealand Rugby League Chief Executive Officer Greg Peters said: “Trans Tasman rivalry showcases everything that is great about our game. To be able to see four of the World’s top Rugby League teams with points to prove in action on one day will make for a not to be missed fan experience. The Men’s match will also form part of the inaugural Oceania Cup and may well decide the winner of that trophy.”
The Harvey Norman Jillaroos held on for a nail-biting win over the Kiwi Ferns at Mt Smart on October 13 last year, while the Australian Kangaroos will be looking to avenge their 26-24 loss against the New Zealand Kiwis from the same day.
Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and nrl.com/tickets. Event-goers can also catch free train and shuttle services to and from WIN Stadium using just their event ticket, making public transport an attractive travel option for the event.
The Australia v New Zealand Double Header is supported by the New South Wales Government via Destination New South Wales.
The women’s and men’s matches will be broadcast live nationally across the Nine Network, Fox Sports and NRL Live Pass, and well as Sky NZ in New Zealand.
The Kiwis, Kangaroos, Great Britain Rugby League Lions and emerging Pacific powers Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are all set to hit New Zealand’s shores in October and November – and tickets are now on sale for the incredible blockbuster programme of international rugby league.
An Eden Park triple header that sees the Kiwis rekindle hostilities with old enemy The British Lions; the Kangaroos lock horns with Jason Taumalolo’s mighty Mate Ma’a Tonga; and Samoa and Fiji clash in a vital Oceania Cup showdown to showcase the international game on a single day at a single venue like never before.
With Christchurch also hosting a thrilling test match double header, and Hamilton welcoming back Tonga to the scene of their 2017 World Cup victory over the Kiwis – as they attempt to subdue another international superpower in the shape of Great Britain – New Zealand will play host to the best teams and players in the world over an incredible few weeks.
“This is an international rugby league spectacle which we’re not used to witnessing outside of the world cup,” NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said.
“The Oceania Cup and Lions Tour not only give fans and players more test match action but they highlight the quality of league being played around the globe.
“From the power and flare of our Pacific Nations to the long-awaited return of the GB Lions, these tests will shine a big spotlight on our game, as fans and players from both hemispheres set to congregate down under to witness nothing but world-class rugby league action.
“It’s a really promising time for rugby league, we know fans are already excited – so I’d urge people to get their tickets nice and early. We look forward to the blockbuster international calendar that awaits.”
International Rugby League Federation General Manager Southern Hemisphere Jeremy Edwards said the action-packed schedule was great for the entire Pacific region.
“It is the first time in many, many years we have got some meaningful content into the Pacific,” Edwards said.
“The Oceania Cup competition finally gives the nations down here a bit of respect.”
While the Kiwis, Kangaroos and Tonga are vying for the Oceania Cup, Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea also have plenty to play for with the Oceania Shield and promotion to the Cup competition up for grabs.
The winner of the Shield will replace Australia in the Cup competition in 2020.
“That not only gives the top team in Pool B a chance to move into Pool A, but allows us to bring in the Cook Islands to Pool B,” says Edwards. “The Cook Islands has produced some incredible rugby league players and they are doing really well at the moment. They have got a match in November against the USA for the final position in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
“There is some really exciting stuff happening down here in the Pacific.”
Edwards said the return of the Great British Lions after a 12-year hiatus was also a huge positive for the international game.
“To be able to reinvigorate that and bring them down to this part of the world is really fantastic,” he said.
“And the desire for the Lions to go to Papua New Guinea to play the Kumuls says a lot about the development of rugby league in the Pacific. These matches open up so many doors for tourism and government opportunities – I think it is sensational.”
With Adult tickets starting from $20* (Christchurch and Hamilton) $25* (Auckland) and family passes from $50* (Christchurch and Hamilton) $60* (Auckland), Edwards said the triple header at Eden Park would provide tremendous value for money for rugby league fans.
“That is one of the things we have tried to do, to be able to appeal to Mum, Dad and the kids to come along and watch six great nations on family tickets that are really attractively priced.
“It’s three great matches of footy at a great venue, right in the middle of downtown Auckland. It’s a sensational evening of rugby league in rugby union heartland.”
The return of international rugby league to Christchurch and Hamilton after the cities successfully hosted matches during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was also exciting, he said.
“Christchurch is a great venue, great city, beautiful scenery. Why not go and have a couple of days while you are there? And Hamilton is a great place as well with a great venue.”
OCEANIA CUP AND GREAT BRITAIN RUGBY LEAGUE LIONS TOUR FIXTURES
Saturday October 26 – FMG Stadium, Waikato
Saturday November 2 – Eden Park Triple Header, Auckland
Saturday November 9 – Double Header, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
*Ticket pricing Plus Fees
TICKETS ON SALE NOW
Kiwi Ferns Head Coach Justin Morgan has named two debutantes for Saturday’s test against Fetu Samoa. Madison Bartlett and Kiana Takairangi will take the field in the Black and White jersey for the first time in the inaugural Oceania Cup clash at Mount Smart Stadium.
Sydney-based Takairangi, who plays for the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, will join her brother Brad Takairangi as a Kiwi international.
Bartlett, a former New Zealand age-group touch representative and current Richmond Rovers player, will start on the wing with Takairangi joining Kiwi Ferns captain Honey Hireme in the centres.
The much-anticipated match between Samoa and the Ferns will kick off at 3:10pm, this Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium.
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Kiwi Ferns: 1 Apii Nicholls, 2 Madison Bartlett, 3 Honey Hireme (c), 4 Kiana Takairangi, 5 Hilda Mariu, 6 Raquel Anderson-Pitman, 7 Raecene Mcgregor, 8 Annetta-Claudia Nuuausala, 9 Krystal Rota, 10 Aeishaleigh Smalley, 11 Kathleen Wharton, 12 Teuila Fotu-Moala, 13, Georgia Hale. Interchange: 14 Nita Maynard, 15 Amber Paris-Hall, 16 Amber Kani, 17 Crystal Tamarua, 18 Charntay Poko, 19 Jules Newman.
Veteran halves Benji Marshall and Kieran Foran are among 27 players named in a wider Kiwi squad for the inaugural Oceania Cup Test against Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday, June 22 (5.40pm kick-off).
The last of the 34-year-old Marshall’s 27 Tests was in 2012 when he captained the Kiwis in a 10-18 loss to the Kangaroos in Townsville.
Foran (28) last played at international level in the 2017 Anzac Test in Canberra, his 21st outing for the national team.
Another feature of the extended squad is the inclusion of Tauranga-born Sharks second rower Briton Nikora, who made his NRL debut in the opening round this season.
The only other three players named who are yet to make their Kiwi Test debuts are Wellington-born Storm fullback Jahrome Hughes (24). Tokoroa-born Roosters middle forward Zane Tetevano (28) and Tonga-born Vodafone Warriors prop Agnatius Paasi (27). Hughes and Paasi were in the Kiwis’ end-of-season touring squad last year but didn’t appear in a Test while Tetevano, who has played at international level for Cook Islands, was originally selected for the campaign before being ruled out by injury.
“We’re really pleased with the quality and form of the players we’ve been able to select,” said second-year Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.
“Nearly all of them have come through the Test we had against England in Denver last year and the matches against Australia and England later in the year. As a group we made a lot of progress and now it’s all about building on that.
“This Test against Tonga at Mount Smart is going to be a huge occasion and we can’t wait to be part of it.
“It kicks off what is a tremendous year for the international game with the introduction of the Oceania Cup competition, the Downer Rugby League World Cup Nines and our series against the Great Britain Rugby League Lions.”
In all 22 of the 27 players named in the Kiwis’ wider squad tonight were involved in last year’s campaigns; the exceptions are Marshall, Foran, Tetevano, Nikora and Vodafone Warriors captain and 2018 Dally M Medal winner Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
NRL competition leader Melbourne provides five players in the Bromwich brothers Jesse and Kenny, front rower Nelson Asofa-Solomona, hooker Brandon Smith and Hughes while there are seven Vodafone Warriors in fullback Tuivasa-Sheck, wing Ken Maumalo, halfback Kodi Nikorima, prop Leeson Ah Mau, hooker Issac Luke, second rower Isaiah Papali’i and Paasi.
The Sydney Roosters boast four players in 2018 New Zealand Rugby League Player of the Year Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, centre Joseph Manu, back rower Isaac Liu and Tetevano.
The final 19-man Test squad will be announced after the NRL’s 14th round finishes with the clash between the Sydney Roosters and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs on Sunday evening.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | WIDER SQUAD
LEESON AH MAU (Vodafone Warriors)
NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA (Melbourne Storm)
JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
KENNEATH BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
KIERAN FORAN (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
JAMAYNE ISAAKO (Brisbane Broncos)
SHAUN JOHNSON (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
ISAAC LIU (Sydney Roosters)
ISSAC LUKE (Vodafone Warriors)
JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)
BENJI MARSHALL (Wests Tigers)
ESAN MARSTERS (Wests Tigers)
KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)
BRITON NIKORA (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
KODI NIKORIMA (Vodafone Warriors)
AGNATIUS PAASI (Vodafone Warriors)
ISAIAH PAPALI’I (Vodafone Warriors)
JORDAN RAPANA (Canberra Raiders)
BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)
JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
MARTIN TAUPAU (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
ZANE TETEVANO (Sydney Roosters)
ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (Vodafone Warriors)
JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES (Sydney Roosters)
DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
Photo – Photosport
Kiwi Ferns head coach Justin Morgan has tonight named his 19-strong squad ahead of their clash against Fetu Samoa to launch the inaugural Oceania Cup at Mount Smart Stadium on June 22.
The all-Pacific doubleheader will see the Kiwi Ferns take on Fetu Samoa for the first time in 11 years ahead of the much-anticipated rematch between the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma‘a Tonga.
The Kiwi Ferns will be captained by 2018 Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year and veteran centre Honey Hireme, who first wore the black and white jersey 17 years ago.
She’s joined by a number of stand-out players from last year’s blockbuster Trans-Tasman Triple Header including 2017 Kiwi Ferns Player of the Year and star fullback Apii Nicholls, centre Amber Kani and front rowers Annetta Nuuausala and Aeishaleigh Smalley – all with the Warriors – plus St George Illawarra halfback Raecene McGregor, Sydney Roosters hooker Nita Maynard, Brisbane Broncos second rower Teuila Fotu-Moala and Warriors playmakers Georgia Hale and Raquel Anderson-Pitman.
Four Kiwi Ferns debutantes have been named including Jules Newman (Mt Albert), Madison Bartlett and Charntay Poko (Richmond Rovers) and Sydney based Kiana Takairangi.
“We’re really lucky to have that mix of leadership and young talent in the team,” said Morgan.
“The girls are eager to take the field again in the black and white and a lot of them are following on from last year’s triple header Test, which is a strength for us.
“The narrow loss to the Aussies still hurts and we know Samoa will come out firing, but we’ve got some great leaders who will bring that invaluable experience, coupled with exciting new debutantes, so we’ll be bringing our best game.
“We’re really looking forward to getting into camp and focusing all our efforts on the Test.”
Tickets are still available for the Oceania Cup doubleheader here.
Gates at Mount Smart Stadium will open at 2.00pm on June 22 with the Kiwi Ferns v Fetu Samoa match kicking off at 3.10pm and the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma‘a Tonga match kicking off at 5.40pm.
KIWI FERNS SQUAD
RAQUEL ANDERSON- PITMAN
AMBER PARIS HALL
New Zealand is set to get a massive injection of international rugby league matches in 2019, with the Great Britain Rugby League Lions tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, and the inaugural Oceania Cup getting the green light.
The first match of the Oceania Cup has the New Zealand Kiwis going head-to-head with Mate Ma’a Tonga at Mt Smart in the re-match that everyone has been waiting for. The Kiwi Ferns will also take on a Pacific Island team on the same night. This mid-season clash is one of three Tests the Kiwis will play in New Zealand, with the end-of-season Test against the Kangaroos being played in Wollongong.
The inaugural Oceania Cup will be made up of Pool A – comprising New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga – and Pool B – made up of Samoa, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Organisers also announced that the Great Britain Rugby League Lions will be in action in the southern hemisphere for the first time in 13 years, playing two Test matches against New Zealand (2 November at Eden Park and 9 November at Christchurch Stadium) and Tests against Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
New Zealand Rugby League CEO Greg Peters said he was “excited to see all the hard work behind the scenes come into fruition with more international rugby league content locked in for our country and our fans.”
“We could not be doing this without the support of New Zealand Government, the host cities and NZRL’s commercial partners so I’m incredibly grateful to all of them for making this possible.”
“Our rugby league community in New Zealand has been hoping for more international and Kiwis fixtures in our back yard for a while now so I’m pleased we’re able to deliver on this for them,”
“New Zealand Rugby League is also delighted to be bringing such an event to New Zealand that will also benefit the teams throughout the Pacific.”
RLIF Southern Hemisphere General Manager Jeremy Edwards was delighted to announce such a packed schedule.
“This international program is both exciting and ground-breaking and it is great to see the Great Britain Rugby League Lions following in the historic footprints of previous tours.”
“The Oceania Cup is an important step in creating a full international calendar that fans, players and commercial partners can enjoy.”
“It has taken a huge amount of work to deliver this and I commend the efforts of all those who have brought us to this point. It is a great platform for the international game in the Asia Pacific Region.”
Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) Chief Executive Officer Ian Prendergast says the Oceania Cup and Great Britain Rugby League Lions are fantastic additions to the International Rugby League calendar.
“It is fantastic that there will be significant international content in 2019, including new properties in the Nines and the Oceania Cup, as well as the Great Britain Rugby League Lions touring down under.”
“It reflects the enhanced profile, interest and competitiveness of International Rugby League. In particular, the Oceania Cup provides a tremendous new platform for the Pacific nations to compete on the world stage.”
“We have enjoyed working through the process with the RLIF and the nations to establish the schedule for 2019 and look forward to continuing these discussions when planning for future matches takes place.”
“The international game presents exciting opportunities for our members and through continued collaboration we look forward to further showcasing the wonderful rugby league talent we have in the game.”
Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer said the return of the Great Britain Rugby League Lions was highly-anticipated.
“The return of the famous Great Britain jersey is something people have been talking about for a long time so this is an exciting announcement for us.”
“It’s 12 years since Great Britain last played a Test, and 13 since they last travelled to the southern hemisphere, for the Tri-Nations series of 2006.”
“There is such history and tradition around that Great Britain shirt, it’s great for the game to have it back and we’ll be committed to respecting and honouring that tradition.”
Note: Event organisers are grateful for the support for New Zealand government through the Major Events Development Fund, ATEED, H3 and ChristchurchNZ.
2019 Kiwis fixtures:
Saturday, 22 June – Kiwis v Mate Ma’a Tonga – Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand
Friday, 25 October – Kiwis v Kangaroos – WIN Stadium, Wollongong, Australia
Saturday, 2 November – Kiwis v Great Britain Rugby League Lions – Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand
Saturday, 9 November – Kiwis v Great Britain Rugby League Lions – Christchurch Stadium, Christchurch, New Zealand