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Football Feast For Rugby League Fans

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Football Feast For Rugby League Fans

Rugby league fans are in for a second - even bigger - feast of football this weekend.

In a precursor to the 2010 Four Nations last Saturday night, Mount Smart Stadium had a festival feel about it as the Kiwis beat Toa Samoa 50-6 in the first-ever Test between the two nations and England drew 18-18 with the New Zealand Maori in the early game.

But this weekend there'll be double the action as Westpac Stadium in Wellington and Parramatta Stadium in Sydney play host to four international matches between them.

Tonight (Saturday) the Four Nations is kick-started by the Kiwis and England in Wellington in a match which also doubles as a Centenary Test for the New Zealand Rugby League. The year marks the 100th anniversary for both the national body and the first Test played on New Zealand soil, the NZRL being formed on April 25, 1910 while the Kiwis made their home debut against the touring Great Britain side at the Domain Cricket Ground in Auckland on July 30, 1910. Both teams will wear replica strips tonight.

In the appetiser to the Four Nations opener, some of the game's hottest prospects will be on show when the Junior Kiwis and the Junior Kangaroos go head-to-head. Then tomorrow (Sunday) at Parramatta Stadium there'll be two Tests with the Kangaroos facing Papua New Guinea's Kumuls in the second Four Nations encounter preceded by a contest between Pacific rivals Toa Samoa and Tonga.

The Vodafone Warriors boast a total of 16 players involved on both days with two of them - Sione Lousi and younger brother Sam - playing for different countries, Sione for Tonga and Sam for the Junior Kiwis.

Lance Hohaia, Manu Vatuvei, Simon Mannering and Ben Matulino will all be playing for the Kiwis, North Queensland-bound centre Brent Tate is in Australia's line-up, Sione Lousi and Ukuma Ta'ai are both playing for Tonga and nine NYC players have been named to play for the Junior Kiwis (Glen Fisiiahi, Bill Tupou, Siuatonga Likiliki, Carlos Tuimavave, Shaun Johnson, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Nafe Seluini, Sam Lousi and Mark Ioane). Warriors in waiting Feleti Mateo (Tonga) and Pita Godinet (Samoa) are also playing.

A feature of the weekend's matches is the appointment of New Zealanders refereeing two of the matches. Shane Rehm, named New Zealand's Referee of the Year on Thursday night, will control the Australia-Papua New Guinea clash while former Kiwi Henry Perenara has the junior international.

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