TVNZ – THE NRL confirmed last night that Mate Ma’a Tonga are set to face the Kangaroos in a Test match in Auckland next month.
Australia are to meet Tonga on October 20 at Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said he is excited about the fixture.
“This is a fantastic result for all fans of rugby league and the continued growth of the international game,” said Greenberg.
“Many people have worked tirelessly right around the globe to ensure this match takes place.
“I’d particularly like to thank the NZRL for their efforts to ensure this match eventuated on New Zealand soil, along with the Rugby League Players Association and the players.
“Tonga are the fourth ranked team in the world and have fully-earned their right to take on the World Champion Kangaroos.”
The Kangaroos players are set to take a pay cut to allow the match to go forward, they have agreed to a one off reduction in their usual $20,000 (NZD $22,000) fee and are expected to receive $5000 (NZD $5,500) or less.
Australian coach Mal Meninga said the fixture between the two nations is massive for the game of rugby league on the international stage.
“This will be a great occasion and it is something I know the players are excited about,” said Meninga.
“This will be an important game not only for the Kangaroos but the international game.
“As a game it’s important to capitalise on the success of the World Cup last year, and particularly the success of Tonga and the other Pacific nations.
“Tonga’s performances last year captured the imagination of so many people in the game and I’m sure the game in Tonga will grow even more with the games like this taking place.”
New Zealand Rugby League and the NRL are set to have a press conference later today at 10am to talk about the fixture.