Auckland to play Samoa side in June
The Auckland premier team will take on Samoa Aukilani (Auckland) on Saturday, June 1 as part of the Auckland Rugby League's 110-year celebrations.
The match will be played at a soon to be announced club ground in Auckland, with free entry to the game and the match to be livestreamed on aucklandleague.co.nz.
It will be the first time in a year the Auckland premier team have taken the field, following on from last year's 40-12 victory over the Tonga New Zealand Residents at Mount Smart Stadium.
Auckland Rugby League CEO Greg Whaiapu said it is part of continued efforts by the organisation to create opportunities for Pacific rugby league partners, and that it was important a full Auckland premier team took the field in the organisation's 110th year.
"It's exciting to be able to offer local players another chance to play in a meaningful representative match and it's going to be great to see the Auckland jersey in action again," Whaiapu said.
"Last year we held a mid-year representative event involving Tonga, Samoa and Auckland Maori, so this is all about continuing that work.
"The Auckland representative match was a hit last year, with big numbers tuning in to watch it online as well as coming to the game itself."
Geoff Brown, chairperson of Rugby League Samoa New Zealand, said chances to play against Auckland don't come around very often and he expected the Samoan community to get right behind the event.
"For us it's a real honour to have the chance to play against a full Auckland representative side," Brown said.
"Over the years Samoan players, coaches and families have played a key role in the Auckland league story, with a number of Samoans also representing the Auckland premier team in the past.
"We know our community will get right behind this game and we can't wait."
The Auckland side will be made up of talent from the Auckland Premiership competitions, while Samoa Aukilani will contain the region's best players with Samoan heritage.
The Auckland side will be coached by former Fox Memorial Premiership winning coach Grant Pocklington.