Topic: Rugby League

Kiwi Ferns prepape to host Fetū Samoa

By Ruth Smith
  • Auckland

The highly anticipated Oceania Cup promises an all-Pacific double header with the Kiwi Ferns set to take on Fetu Samoa women's team before the Kiwis battle it out with Mate Ma'a Tonga on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium.

Apii Nicholls-Pualau has been preparing with her club side, the Papakura Sea-Eagles for the big test against Fetu Samoa.

"I got asked by Laura Mariu who has actually helped me heaps this year with rugby league, so I'm really excited to play with them.  That connection that I have with them will help me prepare for the Warriors season and the Kiwis Ferns this year," says the Kiwis halfback.

The women's match will be the first time the two Pacific rivals have clashed in eleven years, with the Kiwi Ferns winning the last match between the two nations at the 2008 Women's Rugby League World Cup in Brisbane.

"I'm very excited and I know all of our Kiwi Fern girls are excited as well," says Nicholls-Pualau, "For the Kiwi Ferns, we really want a lot of international games and to play against Fetu Samoa on home soil in front of our local fans, it's absolutely amazing."

Meanwhile the men's team are looking to win one back.  The Kiwis-Mate Ma'a Tonga clash is the first time the two teams will meet since Tonga shocked the Kiwis in Hamilton during the Rugby League World Cup.

"Hopefully we have just as many Kiwis in the stand as Tongan because I think it was just all red last time they played," says Titans second-rower, Kevin Proctor.

The atmosphere shouldn't be too dissimilar from that of Friday night’s impending clash, where Proctor and his Titans side will be battling the Warriors- with their keen supporters no doubt ready to pack out Mt Smart.

"Although we started pretty slow the first couple of rounds, I think we're starting to build and find those combinations.  We can take a lot of confidence out of our last game.  We could've won the game against the Rabbitohs and they're supposed to be the benchmark of the competition [along] with the Storm," says Proctor.

The Titans-Warriors fixtures kicks off at 8pm tomorrow.