Rotorua International Stadium will play host to the next generation of rugby league super stars tomorrow night.At 6.30pm, the New Zealand Resident 18s will take on the French Under-19 side as part of a stacked calendar of age group representative league.
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The French side has already played a Canterbury Invitation XIII and the Waikato 20s. On Saturday, they travel north to play the Auckland 20s. On Sunday, The New Zealand Resident 16s and 18s will take on TOA Samoa 16s and 18s at Auckland's Pulman Park.
New Zealand Rugby League chief executive officer Greg Peters said the fixtures were a teaser of the international rugby league to come.
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"What's really exciting about these matches is that we get a glimpse into the future of New Zealand Rugby League. These national teams provide a platform for players to springboard their future opportunities in the game and are an essential part of the New Zealand pathway.
"The fixtures are also a display of the impressive domestic talent developed through our clubs, districts and zones and having our future Kiwis come up against quality competition such as TOA Samoa and France will be exciting to see."
Federation Français Rugby a XIII executive chairman Marc Palanques said: "We are looking forward to this historic Under-19s tour of New Zealand with a distinct vision of preparing a competitive squad capable of mixing it with the world's best in the future.
"The current rep cycle means we are preparing for a World Cup every four years and this is our first step in giving our players the experience they need to compete against the world's best players. The four-match program we have is ambitious while providing a wonderful mixture of games and community engagements for our young players.
"Mixing sport with the local culture and experiencing their first haka will be a life-changing experience and we hope to be able to reciprocate this with the NZRL when they visit next."
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New Zealand Resident 18s:
Caleb Pese (Ellerslie, Auckland), Jyris Glamuzina (Ellerslie, Auckland), Lani Graham-Taufa (Marist, Auckland), Moana Graham-Taufa (Marist, Auckland), Temple Kalepo (Richmond, Auckland), Jonah Palota-Kopa (Richmond, Auckland), Luani Naufahu Whyte (Marist, Auckland), Eteru Ropeti (Marist, Auckland), William Fakatoumafi (Otahuhu, Auckland), Otukinekina Kepu (Manurewa, Auckland), Peesi Valingi Kepu (Manurewa, Auckland), Sione Moala (Manurewa, Auckland), Taniela Otukolo (Otahuhu, Auckland), Semisi Sikei (Otahuhu, Auckland), Semisi Tapa (Otahuhu, Auckland), Feao Tongia (Otahuhu, Auckland), Brooklyn Herewini (Whanganui, Manawatu), Tyson Chase (Kia Ora, Manawatu), Jordan Coleman (Hornby, Canterbury), Caius Fa'atili (Hornby, Canterbury), Tukimihia Simpkins (Pikiao, Bay of Plenty), Dallas McEwan (Randwick, Wellington).
Head Coach: Tusa Lafaele (Counties Manukau)
Assistant Coaches: Daniel McEwan (Wellington) and Cody Walker (Akarana)
Manager: Tania Harris (Counties Manukau)
Trainers: Lee Paru (Southern) and Jasen McCarthy (Akarana)
Physio: Allan Horn (Counties Manukau)
Wellbeing Support: Te Iwi Ngaro Wairau (Southern)