18 May 2015

Sport: Congested schedule a challenge for Pacific league teams

10:51 am on 18 May 2015

New Zealand rugby league coach Stephen Kearney says the world's number one ranked team would love to play more matches against their Pacific neighbours but doesn't think it's feasible in the near future.

The Kiwis wrested top spot away from Australia following their ANZAC Test victory earlier this month.

Samoa remain the top-ranked Island nation at fourth in the world, following their victory over Tonga in the Pacific test, while Fiji are ranked sixth.

The Toa also impressed during last year's Four Nations, where they finished within a converted try

of both England and New Zealand.

Stephen Kearney says they would love to play against teams from the Pacific but isn't sure where to fit the games in.

"It's a matter of managing the schedule. The Nines starts at the end of January [and] we'll get back from this [England] tour midway through November, so for a lot of players it's about where do you squeeze the game in? For us, we certainly want to encourage test matches against the Pacific nations but it's a matter of where are you going to put it? It's a pretty full season as it is so that's the challenge for international football at the moment".