MMT to take on the Kangaroos and the Kiwis

The rugby league test matches we have all been waiting for, World Cup giant killers Tonga will play Australia at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium on October 20th, the weekend after the Kangaroos play New Zealand on October 13 at the same venue, with NZRL also confirming that the Kiwis will face Tonga next year in June.



NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says it’s a fantastic result for all fans of Rugby League and the continued growth of the international game.


It’s also a huge step for Pacific rugby league as Tonga, who are currently ranked fourth in the world, can finally take on the World Champion Kangaroos.


"This will be a great occasion and it is something I know the players are excited about," said Australian coach Mal Meninga


"This will be an important game not only for the Kangaroos but for the international game.


"As a game it's important to capitalise on the success of the World Cup last year, and particularly the success of Tonga and the other Pacific nations.


"Tonga's performances last year captured the imagination of so many people in the game and I'm sure the game in Tonga will grow even more with games like this taking place."


Initial plans to host the match in New York fell through before New Zealand Rugby League expressed concern hosting the match in Auckland would overshadow or affect ticket sales for the Kiwis vs Kangaroos clash at the same venue a week earlier.


However, following talks with the NRL, an agreement was reached.


The October 20 Test will the first time Australia has played Tonga and is expected to be the beginning of more regular Tests for the MMT against tier-one nations after their success at the World Cup. The next of which will be in June 2019, against the Kiwis.


With Taumalolo, David Fusitu'a, Siosiua Taukeiaho, Andrew Fifita and Manu Ma'u all playing for heritage rather than birth the 2017 Rugby League World Cup was a World Cup to remember with MMT beating the Kiwis 28-22 before a capacity crowd in Hamilton to top their pool and losing 20-18 in the controversial game against England at a sold-out Mt Smart Stadium in the semi-final.


In addition to the Tests against the Kangaroos and Kiwis, Tonga may feature on the itinerary for the Great Britain Lions tour at the end of next season as RFL officials have made it known they want to play at least one Pacific nation as well as Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.