Aus-Tonga showdown confirmed at last
TONGA'S first ever clash with Australia has finally been locked in with the Kangaroos to play the international game's newest superpower on October 20.
After months of speculation where the game was rumoured to be organised for Hawaii, New York, Dubai and Brisbane, Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium will host the match a week after Australia play New Zealand at the same venue.
It will mark the first time Tonga have shared the field with the green and gold.
"This is a fantastic result for all fans of Rugby League and the continued growth of the international game," NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said.
"Many people have worked tirelessly right around the globe to ensure this match takes place.
"I'd particularly like to thank the NZRL for their efforts to ensure this match eventuated on New Zealand soil, along with the RLPA and the players.
"Tonga are the fourth-ranked team in the world and have fully earned their right to take on the World-Champion Kangaroos."
Tonga played England and New Zealand in last year's World Cup, defeating New Zealand and falling to England by two points in the semi-final.
Australian coach Mal Meninga, a staunch supporter of the clash, said the game will be important for international rugby league as a whole.
"This will be a great occasion and it is something I know the players are excited about," Meninga said.
"As a game it's important to capitalise on the success of the World Cup last year, and particularly the success of Tonga and the other Pacific nations.
"Tonga's performances last year captured the imagination of so many people in the game and I'm sure the game in Tonga will grow even more with games like this taking place."
Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday.