Rugby league test match

Tonga-NZ league game will be emotional for some players

It comes ahead of the Rugby League World Cup in September this year where New Zealand is likely to come face to face with their Pacific Island neighbours.

Nearly half of the Kiwis team is made up of Pasifika players who have had to choose between representing New Zealand and their island nations of heritage.

"If I play against Samoa...that would be weird but hopefully, I won't come across that problem", he joked.

Kiwi winger Katelyn Vaha'akolo, who is of Maori and Tongan heritage said it's also been a dilemma for her.

Marshall and Foran remain in Kiwis squad

The veteran halves are in a 19-strong group announced by coach Michael Maguire, with regular five-eighth Kodi Nikorima having been ruled out of contention by the Warriors.

Maguire confirmed Dallin Watene-Zelezniak will retain the captaincy, even though a shift to the wing or centres looms following the return to availability of star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who missed all of last year's five Tests.

Veteran hooker Issac Luke is in the group of eight players cut from the 27-man group unveiled midweek ahead of Saturday's clash in Auckland.

Vanuatu to meet Solomon Islands in historic Rugby League test match

The match will be the third Test between the Melanesian neighbours in what is turning into a fierce on-field rivalry.

The Solomon Islands will be looking for their first victory after Vanuatu scored two late come from behind victories in their 2013 encounter in Mackay (Australia) and most recent 24-15 defeat in Port Vila (Vanuatu) in 2016.