12 Nov 2018

Rugby League: Kiwis against Tonga will be NZ 'State of Origin'

9:58 am on 12 November 2018

The Kiwis coach Michael Maguire believes his team's hotly-anticipated clash with Tonga next year can become the Kiwis' own version of State of Origin.

Tonga upset New Zealand in the 2017 World Cup, defeating the Kiwis 28-22 in a historic clash.

Powered by former Kiwi star Jason Taumalolo and ex-Kangaroo Andrew Fifita, Tonga made it all the way to the semi-finals and will face off against New Zealand again in June in 2019.

Maguire is confident the re-match has the potential to become an event that could rival Australia's State of Origin.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire.

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire. Photo: Photosport

"It's definitely got an opportunity to do that, I'd like to see that," the Wests Tigers boss said.

"It's obviously going to be played on that standalone weekend, so what a weekend of rugby league that's going to be. Culturally, the things you can do around those games.... I think it's going to be a spectacle".

New Zealand finished off their three-Test series with England with an impressive 34-0 victory in Leeds.

But Maguire admits he can't wait for his side to do battle with Tonga again.

The Kiwis won the third and final test against England but lost the series.

The Kiwis won the third and final test against England but lost the series. Photo: Photosport

"Definitely. To see the spectacle they we've seen... those games are the ones you want to be a part of," he said.

"I'm looking forward to getting that black jersey into the crowd too. For all our fans there, I'm looking forward to that time when it comes.

"That will be a great opportunity for ourselves and for Tonga.

"It's quite exciting times for international footy. I know they've been very busy in the background bringing games together and working on the actual calendar.

"But I think all three countries and then Tonga being in a strong position, they've been sitting in that top end of international football, are all in a pretty good place at the moment.