Tamaki Makaurau Auckland’s Eden Park will host a blockbuster rugby league triple-header between New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga on Saturday, October 21st, as part of the newly announced Pacific Championships in partnership with the NRL.
The Kiwis will face Samoa, igniting a new Pacific rivalry hot off last year’s World Cup momentum; the Kiwi Ferns will line up against Tonga, and an NZ Kiwi A team will assemble for the first time in 17 years.
Thanks to the current depth of the New Zealand talent pool, the NZ Kiwis A team will consist of current and future Kiwi-committed NRL stars who will take on a Tonga A team as the opening match of the rugby league triple-header.
“How special to bring the best players in the world back home to play in front of their communities. Without the support from Tātaki Auckland Unlimited this series wouldn’t have happened,” says NZRL CEO Greg Peters.
“We’re excited to work with Samoa to bring their rugby league heroes back home and unite fans across New Zealand and the Pacific.
“No other code can produce such a celebration of culture and passion; the atmosphere will be unmissable.”
The 2023 Pacific Championships is a two-tiered competition with six men’s teams and seven women’s teams taking part in the tournament across two pools.
Waikato’s FMG Stadium will host the Pacific Cup grand final on November 4th.
“I firmly believe the Tamaki Makaurau Auckland triple-header and Waikato final will be the biggest international rugby league events on home soil since the 2017 World Cup,” adds NZRL CEO Greg Peters.
Hamilton City Council’s General Manager of Venues, Tourism and Major Events, Sean Murray says, “We’re working hard to deliver an exceptional Pacific Championship Final at FMG Stadium Waikato. The team looks forward to passionate fans and the exposure this game will bring to our city and region.”
Full schedule below:
Week One – October 14-15
• Australia v Samoa (men) and Australia v New Zealand (women) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
• PNG v Cook Islands (men) and Samoa v Fiji (women) at Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
Week Two – October 21-22
• New Zealand v Samoa (men), New Zealand v Tonga (women), and NZ Kiwis A v Tonga A (men) at Eden Park, Auckland
• Fiji v Cook Islands (men) and PNG v Cook Islands (women) at Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
Week Three – October 28-29
• Australia v New Zealand (men and women) at AAMI Park, Melbourne
• PNG v Fiji (men) at Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
Week Four – November 4-5
• The Final of the men’s Pacific Cup tournament on November 4 in Hamilton, New Zealand
• The Final of the men’s Pacific Bowl tournament on November 5 at Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
The Pacific Championships will be staged in 2023 and 2024, after the NRL and NRLW Premiership seasons, and will include men’s and women’s teams from Australia, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Cook Islands.
Tickets for the rugby league triple-header at Eden Park are on sale to the general public: Friday, 25th August 12pm from Ticketek.