2 Dec 2016

Sport: Pasifika Youth Cup league comp to debut in Auckland

12:23 pm on 2 December 2016

The inaugural Pasifika Youth Cup rugby league competition will be held in Auckland next month.

The tournament is being hosted by the New Zealand Maori Rugby League in association with the New Zealand Warriors NRL team and will feature Under 16 and Under 18 teams from New Zealand Maori, Samoa, Tonga (Hakula Tonga), Fiji New Zealand, Cook Islands and Auckland Niue Rugby League.

Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro said the Pasifika Youth Cup and the club's other initiatives provided a valuable pathway.

"If young players are serious about their goals then they need to think about off-season training and we hope the introduction of the Pasifika Youth Cup provides a carrot for them to push hard during the preseason," he said.

"It offers our development players with meaningful football and the chance to push their claims for our National Youth Cup squad.

"We're excited to work with the organisations involved and see this as becoming an important fixture in the rugby league calendar."

Tony Iro during the ANZAC Test between Australia and New Zealand at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia on Friday 2 May 2014.

Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Iro encouraged talented elite junior players to contact the teams they might be eligible to play for.

"This is a really exciting concept and the players will be proud to represent their nations," he said.

"It not only offers further footballing opportunities but, just as importantly, it also gives players involved the chance to learn about their respective cultures.

"We're aware Fiji, Cook Islands and Niue have fewer players on their databases so we really encourage talented rugby league or rugby union players of Fijian, Cook Islands or Niuean extraction to register their interest."

The Niue squad in training before leaving for South Africa.

The Niue rugby league team is always after more eligible players to expand their playing base. Photo: Facebook / Niue Rugby League