Auckland to face Tonga in June

Tongan rugby league is returning to Auckland in 2018, with the Auckland Rugby League today announcing two Queen’s Birthday Weekend representative clashes.

Auckland will host the Tonga New Zealand Residents in the feature match on Saturday, June 2, with a sea of red set to converge on Mount Smart Stadium #2 following on from Mate Ma’a Tonga’s success at the recent Rugby League World Cup.

In the curtain-raiser the Auckland Maori U20 will face Samoa U20, with both games to be streamed live and free on

ARL general manager Greg Whaiapu said aside from putting the Auckland jersey back at the forefront of the New Zealand league scene, it was a chance to provide players with a meaningful representative game.

“It’s exciting to be able to give players from across the region the opportunity to represent Auckland once again, and to celebrate the proud history associated with the blue jersey,” Whaiapu said.

“It’s important we continue to give local players the chance to achieve higher honours here at home.

“The Auckland Rugby League also has a responsibility, as a leader of the grassroots game, to help foster growth in that area, so we are delighted to be able to involve Tonga, Samoa and the Auckland Maori in this event as well.”

The Auckland premier representative team last took the field in 2016 against the New Zealand Maori Residents, and last year the ARL celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the 1977 Auckland side which famously beat Australia, Great Britain and France in the space of three weeks....