Denver Test next year unlikely to happen, reveals Nigel Wood

RLIF chief executive Nigel Wood has revealed that the Denver Test is almost certain not to go ahead next year.

It has been announced that Tonga will face Australia in a one-off Test on October 20 at the Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on October 20. The Mate Ma’a will also face the Kiwis on June 22 at the same venue during next year’s representative weekend.

The Tonga-New Zealand Test has effectively replaced the Kiwis’ mid-season clash against England, with the NZRL and RFL yet to be paid the full amount agreed with promoter Moore Sports International.

Wood has admitted that the Denver Test will probably not go ahead in 2019 but has welcomed extra international fixtures.

He said: “The RLIF is excited to see these much-anticipated fixtures taking place and credit is due to all who have worked to get the [Tonga-Australia] game on.

“We hope they will pave the way for an even fuller international programme in 2019.

“The inclusion of the Pacific Islands in a regular framework of meaningful fixtures is an ambition of the RLIF and we are working with all the nations in the Asia Pacific Rugby League to ensure that such a programme can be established.

“Clearly, however the mid-season game between Tonga and New Zealand removes the possibility of another game in Denver. The RLIF will now be seeking further discussions with the promoter to get a full understanding of any potential implications for their bid to host RLWC2025 in the United States.”