Eden Park will host a blockbuster rugby league triple-header between New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga as part of the new Pacific Championships launched today.
The October 21 spectacular will feature the Kiwis facing Toa Samoa, igniting a new Pacific rivalry hot off last year’s World Cup momentum.
On the same bill the Kiwi Ferns will line up against Tonga and a New Zealand Kiwis 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 triple-header.
“How special to bring the best players in the world back home to play in front of their communities," said NZRL CEO Greg Peters.
"Without the support from Tātaki Auckland Unlimited this series wouldn’t have happened.
“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 4.
“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,” said Peters.
Australia v Samoa (men) and Australia v New Zealand (women), Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands (men) and Samoa v Fiji (women), Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
New Zealand v Samoa (men), New Zealand v Tonga (women), New Zealand A v Tonga A (men), Eden Park, Auckland
Fiji v Cook Islands (men), Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands (women), Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
Australia v New Zealand (men and women), AAMI Park, Melbourne
Papua New Guinea v Fiji (men), Santos Stadium, Port Moresby
November 4: Men’s Pacific Cup final, FMG Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
November 5: Men’s Pacific Bowl final, 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, August 25, (12.00pm) from Ticketek.