Pacific Rugby League International

Last updated
Pacific Rugby League International
Sport Rugby league
Number of teams5
CountryPacific (Asia-Pacific Confederation)
WinnersFlag of Tonga.svg  Tonga (3rd title)
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea (3rd title)
Most titlesFlag of Samoa.svg  Samoa Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea (3 each titles)
Broadcast partner Fox Sports
Related competitions Melanesian Cup
Polynesian Cup
Anzac Test

The Pacific Rugby League International is a rugby league test match that has been played between two Pacific Island nations during the National Rugby League's annual representative weekend since 2013. The fixture was held at Penrith Stadium for the 2013 and 2014 test matches. In 2015, two fixtures were held; Samoa and Tonga competed for the Polynesian Cup while Fiji and Papua New Guinea competed for the Melanesian Cup at Cbus Super Stadium. [1] In 2016 the fixtures returned to New South Wales and were held at Parramatta's Pirtek Stadium.

Contents

In August 2015, the NRL announced a new $925 million (Australian) TV deal. As part of the deal it was announced that the Pacific test matches would continue to be televised until at least 2022 and will be played on the Sunday before game 2 of the State of Origin series. The deal begins in 2018. [2]

Match summaries

YearDateWinnerScoreLoserCompetitionVenue
2010 1 JuneFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 36 – 4Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa Test match Apia, Samoa
16 OctoberFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 50 – 6Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa Test match Mt Smart Stadium
24 OctoberFlag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 22 – 6Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga Polynesian Cup Parramatta Stadium
2013 20 AprilFlag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 36 – 4Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa Polynesian Cup Penrith Football Stadium
2014 3 MayFlag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 32 – 16Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji Test match
2015 2 MayFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 22 – 10Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea Melanesian Cup Cbus Super Stadium
Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 18 – 16Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga Polynesian Cup
2016 7 MayFlag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 24 – 22Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji Melanesian Cup Pirtek Stadium
Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 18 – 6Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga Polynesian Cup
2017 6 MayFlag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 32 – 22Flag of the Cook Islands.svg  Cook Islands Test match Campbelltown Stadium
Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 26 – 24Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji Test match
2018 23 JuneFlag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 26 – 14Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji Melanesian Cup
Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 38 – 22Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa Polynesian Cup
2019 22 JuneFlag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 34 – 14Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga Oceania Cup Mount Smart Stadium
Flag of Samoa.svg  Samoa 24 – 6Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea Leichhardt Oval
Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 58 – 14Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon Test Match
9 NovemberFlag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 22 – 20Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea Melanesian Cup Rugby League Park, Christchurch

2010 tests

2013 test

The 2013 Pacific Rugby League test was played between Samoa and Tonga. The fixture was created as a warm-up international for their 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaigns. Tonga won the test match 36–4. Tonga's Samisoni Langi won the man of the match award, after scoring 16 points from two tries and four conversions.

Controversy occurred late in the match as the game had to be called off before Langi had the chance to convert the final try due to fans invading the pitch. [3] [4]

Both teams selected a number of débutantes, with the most experienced players only appearing between 3-8 times. The most experienced players that played in the test match were Tonga's Richard Fa'aoso and Etu Uaisele who both made 8 appearances for their country before this test match. Samoa's most experienced player was Ben Roberts who made 3 appearances before this test match. All players were contracted to NRL clubs (though some were still playing in the NYC, except for Tongan winger Etu Uaisele who played for the Wyong Roos in the New South Wales Cup.

2014 test

The 2014 Pacific Rugby League test was played between Samoa and Fiji. The fixture was a qualifier for the 2014 Four Nations. [5] [6] [7] Samoa won the test match by 32–16 after being behind 16–12 at half-time. Samoa's Penani Manumalealii won the man of the match award, scoring 3 tries in the match.

Samoa picked 7 debutantes for the test match, while Fiji featured three. All of the Samoan team were National Rugby League based players, while the Fijian side had 10 players from the NRL. Samoa's most capped player was Daniel Vidot who made his 6th appearance for his country, while Fiji's most experienced players were Alipate Noilea, Aaron Groom, and captain Ashton Sims who all made their 10th appearance for their nation.

Aftermath

After the test match, Petero Civoniceva said that "Test matches between emerging nations is a necessity for the game to grow outside of Australia, New Zealand and England". [8]

Due to the win, Samoa had qualified for the 2014 Four Nations. [9] Samoa lost all three matches, losing to England 26–32 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on the tournament's opening day double header, New Zealand 12–14 at Toll Stadium in Whangarei, and then finally to Australia 18–44 at Win Stadium in Wollongong.

2015 tests

On 24 December 2014 it was announced that Papua New Guinea would play Fiji and Samoa would play Tonga as part of a 2015 Pacific test double header. The 2015 Melanesian Cup was played between Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

Fiji beat Papua New Guinea to win the inaugural Melanesian Cup title. [10] Fiji never looked like losing the match after an easy first half performance, leading 18–0 at the break. They went on to win the test match by 22–10. Fiji's Marika Koroibete won the man of the match award, scoring 2 tries in the match. Papua New Guinea's defeat means that they still haven't won a test-match on away soil since the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.

Fiji picked 6 débutantes for the test match, while PNG also featured six players making their first ever International appearance for their country. Both teams had a fair share of NRL, Queensland or New South Wales Cup, as well as domestic club players. Papua New Guinea's most capped players were Nene MacDonald, Ray Thompson, and Tyson Martin who all made their 4th appearance for their country, while Fiji's most experienced player was their captain Jason Bukuya who made his 10th appearance for his country.

PNG Hunters' Israel Eliab captained Papua New Guinea, and Cronulla's Jason Bukuya led Fiji.

Aftermath

On October 17, Tonga had a one-off battle with the Cook Islands in the Asia-Pacific qualifying playoff for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. The Tongans only led by 4 at the break before running away in the second half scoring 3 tries in the last 20 minutes of the game.

Before the game Tongan coach, Kristian Woolf, mentioned how players being eligible for second-tier nations such as Tonga and Samoa are being unfairly punished if they pursue an opportunity with an Australian or New Zealand Test or Origin squad. He made this recent complaint after Tongan internationals Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Tuimoala Lolohea went off to play for the Kiwis in their end-of-year test series against England. This now means that Tonga can't pick these two players until a 2-year period has passed. Woolf said "Some flexibility in those rules would certainly help in terms of helping your tier two nations becoming more competitive with your first-tier nations." [11]

2016 tests

Another Pacific Island nation that does not compete in these matches, Cook Islands, organised a test match with Lebanon at Belmore Sports Ground on May 8. [12]

The 2016 Melanesian Cup was played between Papua New Guinea and Fiji. Papua New Guinea created history to win their first Melanesian Cup title. [13] The test looked in a similar situation to last year when Fiji took a comfortable lead into the break but this time around Papua New Guinea scored enough points in the second half to outscore their pacific rivals and win their first major title since the 2009 Pacific Cup. Captain David Mead shone for the Kumuls as he made try-saving tackles, assists and even line breaks in a man-of-the-match performance which was a crucial influence to earning his country's first win on away soil since the year 2000. Fiji picked 7 débutantes for the test match, while PNG featured five players making their first ever International appearance for their country. Both teams had a fair share of NRL, Queensland or New South Wales Cup, as well as domestic club players. Papua New Guinea's most capped player was Rod Griffin who made his 10th appearance for his country, while Fiji's most experienced player was Akuila Uate who made his 12th appearance for his country. Gold Coast's David Mead captained Papua New Guinea, and Port Kembla Blacks' James Storer led Fiji.

The 2016 Polynesian Cup was played between Samoa and Tonga. Samoa defeated Tonga to win their second consecutive Polynesian Cup title. [14] The strong crowd would always show their passion and loud screaming support throughout the game after big hits, strong runs and intense moments were key talking points.[ citation needed ] However a total of 29 errors and a completion rate of just over 50% from both countries was a headache for everyone to watch.[ citation needed ] Despite Tonga having 55% possession and more territory, they didn't score and the Samoans made them pay by taking their few second-half opportunities that were given to them resulting in another Samoan victory over their old 'War rivals'. Samoa picked 7 débutantes for the test match, while Tonga featured three. Both teams' players varied from National Rugby League players to Queensland or New South Wales Cup to Holden Cup and to the Super League. Samoa's most capped player was Leeson Ah Mau who made his 10th appearance for his country, while Tonga's most experienced player was Feleti Mateo who made his 13th appearance for his country. English Super League club Hull F.C. gave permission for two players to leave England and play in the Polynesian Cup test; coincidentally they were captain of both nations. Frank Pritchard captained Samoa, and Sika Manu led Tonga. [15]

Aftermath

A couple of hours before the Pacific test-matches began, discussions were made and confirmed between the RLIF Deputy Chairman, John Grant, alongside Rugby League Samoa Chairman/Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation Chairman, Tagaloa Faafouina Su'a, and the Fiji Rugby League Chairman, Filimoni Vosarogo, that Samoa's city of Apia will host a test-match between Samoa and Fiji on October 8, 2016. This test-match will mark 30 years of Rugby league in Samoa. [16] [17]

2017 tests

2018 tests

2019 tests

See also

Related Research Articles

Papua New Guinea national rugby league team National team that represents Papua New Guinea in the sport of rugby league football

The Papua New Guinea national rugby league team represents Papua New Guinea in the sport of rugby league football.

Tonga national rugby league team Tonga national rugby league team

The Tonga national rugby league team represents Tonga in rugby league football. They are currently the fourth ranked team in the world. The team was formed to compete in the 1986 Pacific Cup, and have competed at five Rugby League World Cups, starting in 1995 and continuing consecutively until the most recent tournament in 2017, where they achieved their best ever result as semi-finalists.

Cook Islands national rugby league team national sports team

The Cook Islands national rugby league team has been participating in international rugby league football competition since 1986. The team is controlled by the governing body for rugby league in Cook Islands, Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA), which is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC). They are currently ranked 23rd in the RLIF World Rankings.

The Fiji national rugby league team, nicknamed the Bati, has been participating in international rugby league football since 1992. The team is controlled by the governing body for rugby league in Fiji, Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL), which is currently a member of the Asia-Pacific Rugby League Confederation (APRLC). Fiji have thrice reached the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup, in 2008, 2013 and 2017, and are currently ranked 5th in the Rugby League International Federation's World Rankings.

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2009 Pacific Cup

The 2009 Pacific Cup, known as the 2009 SP Brewery Pacific Cup due to sponsorship, was a rugby league competition held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The competing teams were the Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.

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Solomone Kata Tongan rugby league footballer

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Rugby League International tests in Year 2016

The 2017 Rugby League World Cup Asia-Pacific qualification play-off was a rugby league match that was played on 17 October 2015 at Campbelltown Stadium in Australia. Tonga defeated the Cook Islands 28-8 to qualify for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The 2017 Pacific Rugby League Tests, known commercially as the Mesh & Bar Pacific Tests, are a group of rugby league test matches that were played on 6 May 2017 at Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney, Australia. Papua New Guinea played against the Cook Islands; Fiji against Tonga; and England against Samoa.

The 2013 Pacific Rugby League International was created in advance of the international 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaigns played between Samoa and Tonga. Tonga won the test match 36–4. Tonga's Samisoni Langi won the player of the match award, scoring 16 points from two attempts and four conversions.

The 2014 Pacific Rugby League International was played between Samoa and Fiji. The fixture was a qualifier for the 2014 Four Nations. Samoa won the test match by 32–16 after being behind 16–12 at half-time. Samoa's Penani Manumalealii won the man of the match award, scoring 3 tries in the match.

The 2015 Pacific Rugby League International was split into two games. The first was the Melanesian Cup between Papua New Guinea and Fiji. The second was the Polynesian Cup between Samoa and Tonga.

The 2016 Pacific Rugby League International was again split into two games. The first was the Melanesian Cup between Papua New Guinea and Fiji. The second was the Polynesian Cup between Samoa and Tonga.

References

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  2. "New NRL TV deal locks in Pacific Tests". Love Rugby League. 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  3. "Tonga smashes Samoa in a chaotic league Test shutout at Penrith's Centrebet Stadium". foxsports.com.au. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  4. Warren, Adrian (20 April 2013). "Tonga smash Samoa 36-4". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. "Rugby League Planet". Rugby League Planet. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  6. "Four Nations Rugby League: Fiji to play Samoa for a place in tournament". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  7. "Samoa beat Fiji to advance to Four Nations". Nrl.com. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. "We need more Tests: Civoniceva". nrl.com. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  9. "Four Nations Schedule". Triple M. 10 April 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  10. "Koroibete delights in Fiji win over PNG". Nrl.com. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  11. "Pacific rising: Call to loosen eligibility". nrl.com. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  12. "Belmore to host Cook Islands v Lebanon clash". asiapacificrl.com. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  13. "PNG stuns Fiji in a thriller". nrl.com. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  14. "Samoa holds on in pulsating Pacific Test". nrl.com. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  15. "Hull FC: Frank Pritchard and Sika Manu to return to Australia and miss Challenge Cup game". Hull Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  16. "Samoa to host Fiji in historic Test". nrl.com. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  17. "ARLC chairman John Grant expects NRL clubs to support historic Test in Samoa". smh.com.au. Retrieved 7 May 2016.