Regional | Kiwi Ferns

Mount Smart Stadium to host first international league tests in two years

One week before the Warriors make their return to Mount Smart Stadium in July, international rugby league will be seen first with an explosive double-header at the same hallowed grounds.

The Kiwis and Kiwi Ferns will take the field for the first time in almost two years against Pacific rivals Tonga in two matches, being held on Saturday, June 25.

The double-header, dubbed 'Te Hokinga Mai-The Return', will also coincide with the country's first public holiday celebration of Matariki - the Māori New Year, on the Friday before (June 24).

More than a decade has passed since the Kiwi Ferns and Hakula Tonga were last in battle on the field. It was in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup where the Ferns won by 40 points.

The Kiwis' last matchup with Tonga was in 2019, which saw the New Zealand side defeat their Pacific rivals 34-14. However, that year would best be remembered for Tonga defeating the Kangaroos 16-12, a historic upset that saw the Tongan crowds at Eden Park erupt with pride and happiness.

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters says it will be a great feeling when the Ferns and Kiwis get back in front of home crowds and having the two matches coincide with Matariki weekend is special.

It's not the only set of matches happening that weekend. Also on the cards, as part of Rep Round 2022, June 24 will see the women's teams of New South Wales and Queensland battle it out in their first State of Origin match for the year. On the same day as the Kiwis-Tonga matchups, in Campbelltown New South Wales, Samoa will face the Cook Islands and Papua New Guinea will clash with Fiji.

The following Sunday will also be the first meeting between the men's NSW and Queensland teams. It will be an NSW defence of the State of Origin Shield after winning last year's series two matches to one.

This is going to be a SICK weekend! 🙌 DETAILS:

Posted by NRL on Nine on Wednesday, April 27, 2022