Some of New Zealand's best young rugby league players have produced big hits, scintillating pace and sublime skills at Puketawhero Park in Rotorua this week.

Today the national youth rugby league 15s and 17s finals were played to round out an entertaining week of rugby league.

The 15s final was a tightly fought battle between old foes Akarana and Auckland. At the end of the 80 minutes it was Akarana who celebrated, having held on to a 10-8 lead to be crowned national champions.

In the 17s final Counties Manukau always looked comfortable in a 26-18 win over Akarana.


The Waicoa Bay 17s claimed third place thanks to a thrilling 15-14 win over Southern.

The Waicoa Bay 15s finished fourth after losing their third place playoff 18-6 against a big, powerful Counties Manukau side.

After the loss, Waicoa Bay 15s coach Chris Langley told his players to be proud of what they had achieved and how they had carried themselves this week.

"They should absolutely be proud of who they are, their clubs, their families and everyone they represented. They have not let our zone down at all, they are great young men.

"We finished third last year and we wanted to at least equal that, but fourth is a respectable finish for us. We're a small zone, outside of the big three, so we're proud of that," Langley said.

National Youth Tournament 15s Final Akarana Falcons 15s v Auckland Vulcans 15s and Akarana Falcons 17s v Counties Manukau Stingray 17s 6 October, 12.30pm Puketawhero Park, Rotorua

Posted by New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) on Thursday, 5 October 2017

He said the quality of all the teams and players in the tournament was "fantastic".

"We're looking at the future NRL stars here, the speed of the game, the skill level and even the character of the young men here has been amazing.

"Our boys typified what it means to be a [Waicoa Bay] Stallion, to put that jersey on and represent their zone with pride. It's a team that believe in the jersey and we believe we're the David in the fight against Goliath every time. They kept bringing it - they never gave up."

National Youth Rugby League Tournament final placings
1st Akarana
2nd Auckland
3rd Counties Manukau
4th Waicoa Bay
5th Central
6th Southern
7th Wellington
8th Northern
1st Counties Manukau
2nd Akarana
3rd Waicoa Bay
4th Southern
5th Auckland
6th Central
7th Wellington
8th Northern