Kiwis v Mate Maa Tonga
Kiwis v Mate Maa Tonga

Kiwis and Tonga set for Origin series

There are plans for New Zealand to take on Tonga in an end-of year series to replicate a State of Origin-type contest between the budding international rivals.

Project Apollo will consider the proposal which will pit New Zealand and Tonga in a three-game series to run at the same time as Origin in November. The winner of the series could potentially play Australia to round out the year.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has thrown his support behind the concept.

"I think it would be huge," Maguire said. "I've been trying to push it in the background.

"There is a lot of talk about Origin, but the international game is a massive opportunity for the islanders in our game.

"It gives an opportunity for these guys and brings them together before the Rugby League World Cup (in England next year). The concept would be excellent."

Australia would almost certainly play host to the matches - depending on the travel restrictions.

The game is exploring ways to have an international window while Origin is played after the NRL grand final on October 25.

That could include matches for England, Samoa and Fiji.

Costs and travel restrictions will be critical elements to these concepts progressing and also if the broadcast partners have an appetite to show representative football.

Australia was due to tour England at the end of the year but that is almost certainly going to be scrapped.

Tonga shone last year - defeating Australia and Great Britain. They lost 34-14 to New Zealand last year in their only match since beating the Kiwis in the 2017 World Cup.





Originally published as Kiwis and Tonga set for Origin series