New Zealand Rugby League officials have blocked any plans of a Tonga-Kangaroos Test in Auckland, seemingly worried that the clash would overshadow the Kiwis.
With Mate Ma’a Tonga’s rise at last year’s World Cup, calls for the Pacific powerhouse to face the reigning world champions have only grown louder, with either Auckland or New York mooted as a possible venue.
However, with the Kiwis to host Australia on October 20 at Mt Smart Stadium, NZRL boss Greg Peters said that any possible clash between Tonga and the Kangaroos in Auckland was unfeasible.
“We have been talking with the Australian Rugby League Commission and they’re looking at a number of options for that game,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“One of them was in Auckland, but we have a test match against Australia the weekend before, and we want to give prominence to that in our market.
“It’s the first time we’ve played Australia in New Zealand for four years. Other than the World Cup, we’ve had precious little content in our own market.
“We want to rebuild the Kiwis jersey and get back on side with our fans, and this is a great opportunity for us to do that against Australia.
“It’s a smaller market – we’re a small sports market, let alone rugby league market in New Zealand.”
An announcement over the logistics of any Kangaroos-Tonga clash is expected in the next 48 hours.