New Zealand to face Samoa in women’s showdown as part of all-Pacific double-header

New Zealand will take on Samoa in a women’s Test that will be part of an all-Pacific double-header on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium.

The women’s game will enhance what will be a blockbuster event as New Zealand face Tonga in a men’s match in the second stage of the double-header, which is the opening game of the Oceania Cup.

The women’s match will be the first time the two Pacific rivals have clashed in 11 years, with the Kiwi Ferns defeat Fetu Samoa in the last match between the two nations at the 2008 Women’s Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane.

NZRL chief executive Greg Peters said: “The Kiwi Ferns versus Fetu Samoa match is going to enhance what is going to be a momentous occasion for rugby league in New Zealand and the wider Pacific.

“We’re really thrilled that players from both teams will have the opportunity to play in front of their friends, families and supporters.

“The women’s game is a real priority and it’s key we give the Kiwi Ferns the opportunity to play in Aotearoa and inspire young girls across New Zealand who dream of pulling on the black and white jersey.”

RLS president Tagaloa Faafouina Su’a added: “It’s great to have Fetu Samoa back playing 13-a-side Test rugby league on what will be a really special occasion for our team.

“Developing Fetu Samoa is a real focus for us, so to have our women playing on such a big stage is a real boost for the women’s game.”

The men’s clash between the Kiwis and the Mate Ma’a will be the first time that the teams will meet since Tonga stunned New Zealand in Hamilton during the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

The Kiwi Ferns-Fetu Samoa match kicks off at 5pm on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, with the Oceania Cup opener between the New Zealand Kiwis and Mate Ma’a Tonga getting underway at 7:30pm.