The second annual Pasifika Youth Cup tournament kicked off today at Cornwall Park with the finals in the under-16 and under-18 divisions to be played on Saturday.
The event is again being hosted by the New Zealand Maori Rugby League in association with the Vodafone Warriors. It was launched with powhiri at Mount Smart Stadium yesterday.
It features under-16 and under-18 teams representing New Zealand Maori, Samoa, Tonga (Hakula Tonga), Fiji New Zealand, Cook Islands and Auckland Niue Rugby League.
“Last year’s tournament was a huge success both on and off the field. It was one of the best rugby league experiences we have being involved with,” said Vodafone Warriors development coordinator Jordan Friend.
“A number of players used it as a platform for further footballing opportunities with representatives from each competing nation join our Vodafone Warriors training squads.”
A few of those players, who are all training with the under-20 squad, are Hoani Rogers-Brown (NZ Maori, Dargaville), Patrick Elia (Samoa, Christchurch), Matt Palu (Tonga, Auckland), Nitoa Kairau (Cook Islands, Auckland) and Tevita Mikaele (Niue, Auckland).
“The key is not just footballing opportunities but giving players involved the chance to engage with their respective cultures and create a greater connection with the other nations,” said Friend.
“At last year’s tournament we were given some insight into the pride which was later showcased at the Rugby League World Cup.
“The Pasifika Youth Cup helps to harness the excitement and pride which can help the development of the game in this country and the Pacific.
“We are committed to working with the organisations to make this an important fixture in the rugby league calendar.”
PASIFIKA YOUTH CUP 2018
Thursday | Cornwall Park
10.00am | Under 16s - Samoa v NZ Maori, No 3
10.00am | Under 16s – Cook Islands v Niue, No 2
10.00am | Under 16s – Tonga, bye
11.15am | Under 18s premiers - Samoa v NZ Maori, No 3
11.15am | Under 18s development – Cook Islands v Niue, No 2
11.15am | Under 18s cross-over – Tonga v Fiji, No 1
1.00pm | Under 16s - Niue v Samoa, No 3
1.00pm | Under 16s – NZ Maori v Tonga, No 2
1.00pm | Under 16s – Cook Islands 16s, bye
2.15pm | Under 18s premiers - Tonga v Samoa, No 3
2.15pm | Under 18s development – Cook Islands v Fiji, No 2
2.15pm | Under 18s cross-over – NZ Maori v Niue, No 1
Friday – Cornwall Park
10.00am | Under 16s - Tonga v Niue, No 3
10.00am | Under 16s – Samoa v Cook Islands, No 2
10.00am | Under 16s – NZ Maori 16s bye
11.15am | Under 18s premiers - Tonga v NZ Maori, No 3
11.15am | Under 18s development – Niue v Fiji, No 2
11.15am | Under 18s cross-over – Samoa v Cook Islands, No 1
1.00pm | Under 16s – Cook Islands v Tonga, No 3
1.00pm | Under 16s – Niue v NZ Maori, No 2
1.00pm | Under 16s – Samoa 16s bye
2.15pm | Under 18s premiers – Premier qualifier 1 v Development qualifier 1, No 3
2.15pm | Under 18s development – Premier qualifier 2 v Premier qualifier 3, No 2
2.15pm | Under 18s development – Development qualifier 2 v Development qualifier 3, No 1
TBC | Under 16s – Tonga v Samoa
TBC | Under 16s – NZ Maori v Cook Islands
TBC | Under 16s – Niue 16s, bye
TBC | Under-18s – 3 v 4 place final
TBC | Under-16s – Final
TBC | Under 18s – Final