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As part of the inaugural Pacific Championships competition, Eden Park played host to a Triple Header on the 21st October 2023.

With Tonga's MMT squad away in the UK for a 3 test tour, the Tonga A development squad kicked things off taking on the Kiwis A in a close and entertaining game.

Both sides featured NRL and NSW/Queensland Cup talent and fans were given a preview of future stars of the game.

Final score:  Tonga A 26 - Kiwi A 36 

The Tonga Women's side was captained this year by former Australian Jillaroos Centre & Cronulla Sharks NRLW captain Tiana Penitani who had taken inspiration from Jason Taumalolo & Andrew Fifita switching allegiance to their island heritage.

She led from the front scoring a double in her Tonga debut.  At half time the Kiwi Ferns were only up 10-6 and the final score may have been much closer but unfortunately Tonga's Ilaisaane Taufa was sent off for a hip drop tackle.  

Final Score:  Tonga Womens 10 - Kiwi Ferns 28

The main fixture saw Toa Samoa take on the NZ Kiwis for the first time at Eden Park.  

The atmosphere was off the chain with emotions running high through the anthems and spine tingling siva tau/haka challenges laid. 

With the number of Samoan flags throughout the stadium you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a Samoan home game and despite the score the crowd stayed hyped to the very end.

The Kiwis experience over a very young Samoan side saw them take a 50-0 victory.

Check out some of the photographs from the Triple Header in the gallery below.

Scroll down and click on the Menu Bars below to go to different teams & sections.  You can click on the images to bring them up full size.


Photographer:  Penina Momoiseā

Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air 

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