Three Pacific Tests, Origins in Perth and Canberra headline representative round as New Zealand drought ends

Representative rugby league will make a large step toward getting back to normal with three Pacific Tests, an Origin in Perth and a women’s interstate clash in Canberra in this year’s representative round.

The ARL Commission announced on Wednesday that there will be a Test double-header at Campbelltown as well as a New Zealand v Tonga game in Auckland on June 25.

Women’s Origin kicks off the weekend on the Friday night at GIO Stadium with the men’s match at Perth’s Optus Stadium on the Sunday night of June 26.

The Kiwis’ clash with Tonga will be the first elite rugby league fixture in New Zealand since 2019 due to the Warriors’ relocation to Australia from the start of COVID-19 pandemic.

After it was controversially postponed last year, the World Cup in England will be staged in October with the Kangaroos and Jillaroos red-hot favourites to lift the trophy.

“It is great to be able to give the players from the Pacific nations time together ahead of the World Cup. We are also really excited to have the chance to kick start and rejuvenate international rugby league in the Southern Hemisphere after the impact of the pandemic,” International Rugby League chairman Troy Grant said.

“There has been very little opportunity to play international matches for more than two years and we know how passionate the players from the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga are about representing their nations.

Jason Taumalolo representing Tonga (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

“We are very grateful to the ARLC, NRL, clubs and each of the nations involved for their support and contribution towards what is an important and significant weekend for international rugby league.”

ARL chairman Peter V’landys said the Commission had “made it clear that growing international rugby league would be a priority and we are delivering on that promise”.

“Representative Round will provide a return to the excitement and national pride that Test matches produce.

“The Pacific Test matches will be vital for these nations as they prepare for the World Cup later this year and importantly, for our fans, a chance to watch their heroes live in their national colours. The passion of the Pacific Nations and their fans is something unique to rugby league.

“This is part of a long-term plan to grow the international game in conjunction with International Rugby League and member countries. We’ve seen with the growth and success of Tonga in recent years and we want to capitalise on the potential depth of our Test playing nations.”

  • Ampol Women’s State of Origin at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Friday, June 24
  • New Zealand v Tonga in Auckland on Saturday, June 25
  • Pacific double header featuring Samoa v Cook Islands and PNG v Fiji at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday, June 25
  • Ampol State of Origin II at Perth’s Optus Stadium on Sunday, June 26

Tickets for the 2022 Pacific Test at Campbelltown Stadium will be on sale on Tuesday, May 17 from $10 for adults, $5 for juniors and $25 for families. The 2022 Pacific Test will be broadcast live on the Nine Network and Fox Sports.

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