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Resident 18s to face Taurahere

Resident 18s to face Taurahere
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The New Zealand Resident 18s and Taurahere squads are set for battle in Auckland.

The two sides will face off against each other in hopes of earning a spot in the New Zealand 18s team who will take on the Australian Schoolboys later this month.­­

Seven of the nineteen players in the NZ Resident 18s squad, Hayze Perham, Sheldon Rogers, Lewis Sio, Javvier Pitovao, Awatere Kiwara, Nitoa Kairau and Jordan Riki, come off the back of being selected in the National Secondary Schools Tournament team last week.

This side includes seven players who are also still eligible to play for New Zealand 18s next year.

The last time a NZ 18s fixture took place in 2015 the NZ Resident 18s were defeated by the Australian Schoolboys in both encounters.

This year presents the first opportunity for players at 18s level to wear the black jersey. The selection for this team will include not only the best of those residing in New Zealand (NZ Residents 18s), but also New Zealanders currently playing in Australia (Taurahere) to create a New Zealand 18s side that represents the best of New Zealand.

New Zealand 18s head coach Ezra Howe says the fixtures will further strengthen the NZRL pathways for those wanting to reach the pinnacle of rugby league in New Zealand.

“This is a great opportunity for the boys to put their best foot forward playing against Australia while enjoying being in an elite environment,” he said.

“Players like James Fisher-Harris who was part of the Taurahere programme when it first started back in 2014, show that these pathways provide a good foundation to then go on and represent New Zealand at the highest level.

“I know this fixture will see a good standard of football being played from both teams with many talented boys to take the field.

“Being a part of these programmes is just as rewarding for the coaching staff as it is for the players so I am thankful to NZRL for this opportunity.”

New Zealand Resident 18s v Taurahere
Saturday 23 September
Bruce Pulman Park, Auckland

New Zealand Resident 18s team: Upper Central: Hayze Perham, Sheldon Rogers; Akarana: Mikey Williams, Matt Timoko, Emanuel Gerard Tuimavave, Soane Hufanga, Lewis Sio, Javvier Pitovao, Tyler Slade, Kayal Iro; Mid Central: Awatere Kiwara, Wesley Veikoso; Counties Manukau: Dylan Tavita, Dredin Sorenson-McGee; Southern: Seth Tauamiti, Jordan Riki, Daniel Sakisi; Northland: Paul Turner. Head coach – Moehewa Armstron.

Taurahere team: Brisbane Broncos: Dre Ngatui-Woe; Cronulla Sharks: Fine Kula; Gold Coast Titans: Darius Farmer, Jackson Paulo; Manly Sea Eagles: Zaane Weatherall, Mark Tepu-Smith; North Queensland Cowboys: Peter Hola, Sean Mullany; Parramatta Eels: Joseph Taipari, Vallance Harris; South Sydney Rabbitohs: Mawene Hiroti; St. George Illawarra Dragons: Steven Marsters; Melbourne Storm: Kelma Tuilagi, Kea Pere; Sydney Roosters: Baylee Bentley-Hape, Phillip Makatoa; Canberra Raiders: Ranapiri Baker, Aublix Kaharoa-Tawha. Head coach – Rangi Hiroti.