Rotorua brothers Shaq and Maurice Stone have plenty of New Zealand touch caps under their belts, but this year's transtasman series promises to be the most significant yet.

The series is being played at Rotorua International Stadium on April 27-29. It will be the first time the two former Rotorua Boys' High School students have represented their country in their home town.

Maurice, 31, has been playing for the New Zealand men's team since he was 17, but he said pulling on the black singlet was just as exciting each time and he still felt nervous before a game.

"[The highlights are] the people you get to meet, the places you get to travel and the game itself, playing at that high level and the adrenaline you get once you step out on the field.


"I think it's good to get a bit nervous. When the hooter goes your body is used to it and the mentality is there," he said.

Shaq, 24, has been in the side since 2011 and said he was looking forward to playing at home.

"This time will be different because it's here in Rotorua, it'll be more special. We've never played here before."

Maurice expected the stands to be overflowing with family members.

"It will be pretty packed I'd say. Our entire family, which is quite a large family, will probably be in attendance, as well as the wider touch community.

2018 Open Trans Tasman Trailer

Rotorua are you ready??? Rotorua International Stadium brings you the the 2018 Open Trans Tasman Touch Series 27-29 April. View the action live in person, or watch it right here on Facebook!!

Posted by Touch New Zealand on Thursday, 5 April 2018

"We were brought up with touch, our whole family plays. Mum and dad both represented New Zealand as well. We pretty much got dragged to all the trainings and stuff. We were immersed in it so it was pretty much second nature to just grab a ball and start chucking it around.

"We've been lucky to be able to get that connection and play [for New Zealand] together, which will be exciting for this one coming up. Obviously playing with the brother and playing at home is pretty cool."

New Zealand's men's, women's and mixed teams will each play three games against their Australian counterparts. Shaq said any game or series against Australia was hotly contested.


"In the last couple of years it has probably gone up a notch - both nations have put a lot of work in to try to get ahead of one another. I think this series is going to be pretty tough, both teams have a good mixture of experience and newbies.

"Australia have been the world champs since day dot, but we've closed the gap on them in the last couple of years and hopefully we can get one back from them this year."

Maurice said holding the series in Rotorua was "huge".

"Not only for the sport, bringing it out of Auckland, but for the Bay of Plenty and Rotorua community. It's going to be a huge event and it will be pretty special to host it here. It hasn't been held anywhere but Auckland for a long time."

Another Rotorua player to keep an eye on during the series is Mystery McLean, who has been selected in the mixed team.

2018 Open Trans-Tasman Touch Series schedule:
Friday, April 27
4pm - Open Mixed
5:10pm - Open Women
6:20pm - Open Men

Saturday, April 28
3pm - Open Mixed
4:10pm - Open Women
5:20pm - Open Men

Sunday, April 29
10am - Open Mixed
11am - Open Women
12pm - Open Men