New Zealand Rugby League announced today that for the first time in history, the Kiwis will play England in the United States in June.
One Māori rugby league commentator believes the fixture will benefit the game internationally.
Denver, Colorado isn't a place familiar with rugby league but Mile High Stadium is expected to be packed with Kiwis and English fans for the game.
Commentator Te Arahi Maipi says, “[It's great that] this fixture has been established outside of New Zealand and England so that our game to can reach out to a massive market.”
Maipi, who a former media manager for the Kiwis, believes international rugby league is set to benefit from staging games like these.
“We've seen the All Blacks profit from playing in Chicago, and the Māori All Blacks in America.”
NZRL CEO Reon Edwards was unavailable for comment today but issued a statement saying the game is a chance to showcase rugby league in North America.
The agreement between the NZRL, the RFL, and the RLIF is set for three years. With that, it is unlikely New Zealand will be facing Tonga anytime soon.
“They may be playing Australia anyway so that's a bigger coup. Australia are the champions and the best in the business.”
“To be honest, New Zealand are second or third now. So, if you were to choose your opponent, would it be New Zealand or Australia? It's beneficial to play Australia."
The NZRL will work closely with both NRL and super league clubs to ensure players are available for the fixture.
The fixture is set for June 23rd at the same time as the State of Origin series.