RLWC2021: Pacific nations confirm mid-season tests ahead of World Cup

Drew Darbyshire
NRL mid-season representative round World Cup NRL

The Pacific nations will begin their preparations for the World Cup with a mid-season international window which will see six nations in action.

The Australian Rugby League Commission has confirmed the return of the mid-season international window.

The Representative Round will feature the State of Origin, a Pacific test double-header and a test in New Zealand.

The women’s State of Origin will take place at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Friday, June 24.

The Kiwis will take on Tonga in Auckland on June 25. The test will be the first elite rugby league fixture to be played in New Zeland since COVID-19.

Also on June 25, there will be a Pacific double-header at Campbelltown Stadium. Samoa will take on the Cook Islands whilst Papua New Guinea face Fiji.

Perth’s Optus Stadium will host the men’s State of Origin second game on Sunday, June 26.

This year will be the biggest Representative Round in NRL history.

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NRL Representative Round schedule:

  • 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

International Rugby League chairman Troy Grant says he pleased the Representative Round is taking place ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year.

Grant said: “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.

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

“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.”

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