The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has confirmed the return of the international game, with a Representative Round in June that will feature Ampol State of Origin and a Pacific Test double header.
The NZRL has also confirmed a New Zealand versus Tonga match – the first elite Rugby League fixture to be played in New Zealand since COVID-19.
This year will feature the biggest Representative Round in NRL history. The schedule of matches will be:
- Ampol Women’s State of Origin at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Friday, June 24
- New Zealand v Tonga in Auckland on Saturday, June 25
- Pacific double header featuring Samoa v Cook Islands and PNG v Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday, June 25
- Ampol State of Origin II at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Sunday, June 26
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys AM said the round would celebrate the re-birth of the international game following the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“The Commission has made it clear that growing international Rugby League would be a priority and we are delivering on that promise. Representative Round will provide a return to the excitement and national pride that Test matches produce,” he said.
“The Pacific Test Matches will be vital for these nations as they prepare for the World Cup later this year and importantly, for our fans, a chance to watch their heroes live in their national colours. The passion of the Pacific Nations and their fans is something unique to rugby league.
“This is part of a long term plan to grow the international game in conjunction with International Rugby League and member countries. We’ve seen with the growth and success of Tonga in recent years and we want to capitalise on the potential depth of our Test playing nations.”
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the Representative Round would celebrate the game’s best players.
“To have State of Origin and Test Matches across one round for the final time before we enter a new cycle from 2023 of a dedicated international window in October is exciting for the game.’’ he said.
“I’d like to thank Clubs, the IRL, RLPA and the various international bodies for working together to make the round a reality.”
International Rugby League Chairman Troy Grant said the matches would be important fixtures ahead of the World Cup later in 2022.
“It is great to be able to give the players from the Pacific nations time together ahead of the World Cup. We are also really excited to have the chance to kick start and rejuvenate international rugby league in the Southern Hemisphere after the impact of the pandemic,” Mr Grant said.
“There has been very little opportunity to play international matches for more than two years and we know how passionate the players from the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga are about representing their nations.
“We are very grateful to the ARLC, NRL, clubs and each of the nations involved for their support and contribution towards what is an important and significant weekend for international rugby league.”
Tickets for the 2022 Pacific Test at Campbelltown Stadium will be on sale on Tuesday, May 17. Tickets will be available from $10 for adults, $5 for juniors and $25 for families.
The 2022 Pacific Test will be broadcast live on the Nine Network and Fox Sports.