The Kiwis could play England in the US next season but if that falls through New Zealand may host a mid-year test against the likes of Tonga or Fiji.

The Kiwis are already booked in to play a three-test series against England in the UK at the end of next season but discussions are continuing to arrange another one-off fixture in Denver, Colorado during the stand-alone State of Origin weekend next June.

Australian promoter Jason Moore - who spearheaded USA and Canada's successful bid to host the 2025 Rugby League World Cup - is keen to lock the game in to help generate further interest in the 13-man code.

Read more: Kiwis to play England in USA?


Concerns over player welfare mean neither side is willing to travel all the way to the UK or down under for a lone test but the game could be played at a midway point between the two countries.

However, if that clash does not go ahead, the New Zealand Rugby League is considering the possibility of hosting a rematch against one of the second-tier teams that claimed historic victories over the Kiwis during the World Cup last month.

"They (England) wouldn't be looking to send a team all the way down for a mid-year test and we wouldn't be looking to go all the way to the UK either so one option is to play at a midway point or we would play a Pacific test down here," said NZRL boss Alex Hayton.

The latter concept would surely be more attractive and lucrative for the NZRL and the Pacific sides - providing the chance to strike while the iron is hot and capitalise of the success and popularity of the World Cup.

A grudge match in Auckland between the Kiwis and Tonga would almost certainly sell-out and a re-match against Fiji would also come close to attracting a full-house.

MartinTaupau is tackled by Jarryd Hayne during the Kiwis' Rugby League World Cup clash against Fiji in Wellington. Photo / Photosport.
MartinTaupau is tackled by Jarryd Hayne during the Kiwis' Rugby League World Cup clash against Fiji in Wellington. Photo / Photosport.

If the Kiwis do end up heading to the US next year, Hayton confirmed it would not be until 2019 at the earliest that a test against a Pacific side could be arranged.

Australia is planning a Kangaroo tour of the UK in 2020 so there could be an opportunity then for the Kiwis to stage either one-off tests against Pacific sides or arrange a tournament involving three or four nations.

"It is being worked through and part of that is looking at playing the likes of Fiji and Tonga when we can fit those in," he said.


"Having a tour to the UK limits the opportunities for playing other games at the end of 2018, so then you're starting to look ahead to 2019 and 2020 as well. It just depends how some of the discussions that we've got going at the moment pan out.

"Australia are looking to go to the UK in 2020 so maybe there is an opportunity at that time - if it's commercially viable - to have a series of one off tests, or maybe there can be some kind of Pacific Cup competition.

"That's something to be worked through as a longer-term project."