Lauitiiti accepts Leeds invitation to face Kiwis

Leeds Rhinos have confirmed that Ali Lauitiiti will return to the club to play one last game, against New Zealand on Friday October 23 at Headingley.

The Rhinos revealed earlier this week that Adrian Morley would also return to play one last game in the club’s colours before retiring, and now he will be joined by back rower Lauitiiti.

Lauitiiti joined Leeds in 2004, and went on to help them claim a heap of honours, including the 2011 Grand Final win, which was his 200th game for the club.

After that, the former Kiwi international moved to Wakefield, and helped them secure their Super League status in the Qualifiers campaign in 2015.

“We are delighted that Ali has accepted our invitation to play for the Rhinos one last time,” said Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.

“The reception he always receives from the Leeds fans whenever he has returned to Headingley Carnegie with Wakefield shows the love and respect Rhinos supporters still have for him and it should make it an unforgettable evening to see him back in blue and amber.”

The game against the Kiwis will be the first time that a Super League side has played a touring national team since 2002. It is also part of the celebrations for the 125th anniversary of Headingley stadium.

The occasion will also be used to bid farewell to departing Leeds legends Jamie Peacock, Kyle Leuluai and Kevin Sinfield.

Peacock will not play in the game, but Leuluai and Sinfield are expected to play some part.

England squad members Zak Hardaker, Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall are not expected to play, with England playing France at Leigh the following day.

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