2015 New Zealand rugby league season

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The 2015 New Zealand rugby league season was the 108th season of rugby league that had been played in New Zealand. The main feature of the year was the National Competition, which was won by the Counties Manukau Stingrays.

The New Zealand national side competed in the 2015 Anzac Test and then toured England in November.

International competitions[edit]

The Kiwis toured Great Britain, playing in three test matches against England.[1] New Zealand defeated the Leeds Rhinos 34-16, before losing the first test match to England 12-26.[2] They won the second test 9-2 before losing the third test 14-20.

The touring squad was coached by Stephen Kearney and included Jordan Kahu, Kodi Nikorima, Adam Blair (c), Alex Glenn (Brisbane), Curtis Rona (Canterbury Bulldogs), Gerard Beale (Cronulla-Sutherland), Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Sam Moa, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Isaac Liu (Sydney Roosters), Peta Hiku (Manly-Warringah), Jesse Bromwich, Tohu Harris, Kevin Proctor (Melbourne), Tuimoala Lolohea, Ben Matulino (New Zealand Warriors), Dean Whare, Lewis Brown (Penrith), Jason Nightingale (St. George Illawarra), Martin Taupau and Manaia Cherrington (Wests Tigers).

New Zealand also competed in the 2015 Anzac Test which was played on 3 May, after being postponed on 1 May due to heavy rain at Suncorp Stadium. The Kiwis won 26-12, after leading 26-6 at halftime. The win was their first ANZAC test match victory for 17 years and the first time New Zealand had won three consecutive test matches over Australia since 1953.[3] As man of the match, Manu Vatuvei was awarded the Charles Savory medal.[4][5]

The Kiwis team for the ANZAC test on 3 May was Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (Sydney Roosters), Jason Nightingale (St. George-Illawarra), Peta Hiku (Manly Sea Eagles), Shaun Kenny-Dowall (Sydney Roosters), Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors), Kieran Foran (Manly Sea Eagles), Shaun Johnson (NZ Warriors), Jesse Bromwich (Melbourne Storm), Issac Luke (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ben Matulino (NZ Warriors), Kevin Proctor (Melbourne Storm), Tohu Harris (Melbourne Storm) and Simon Mannering (c - NZ Warriors). Bench: Thomas Leuluai (NZ Warriors), Sam Moa (Sydney Roosters), Martin Taupau (Wests Tigers) and Greg Eastwood (Canterbury Bulldogs). Lewis Brown (Penrith Panthers) was the 18th man and did not play while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (Penrith Panthers) was originally named in the squad but was suspended by the NRL judiciary and replaced by Nightingale.[6]

The ANZAC test victory saw New Zealand become the number one ranked side in the RLIF World Rankings for the first time.[7]

The Kiwiferns lost 14-22 to Australia in a curtain raiser to the ANZAC test.[8] Coached by Alan Jackson, the full NZ Kiwi Ferns squad for the Anzac test curtainraiser is Tasha Davie, Shontelle Dudley, Maitua Feterika, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Georgia Hale, Annabelle Hohepa, Nora Maaka, Kelly Maipi, Laura Mariu, Krystal Murray, Hilda Peters, Kahurangi Peters, Rona Peters, Krystal Rota, Kristina Sue, Atawhai Tupaea, Janna Vaughan and Sharnita Woodman.[6]

The NZ Defence Force lost 24-30 to the Australian Combined Armed Services on 2 May.[9]

On 2 May the Junior Kiwis lost to the Junior Kangaroos 20-22.[10] Coached by Kelvin Wright, the Junior Kiwis squad was Bunty Afoa, Marata Niukore, Toafofoa Sipley, Jazz Tevaga (NZ Warriors), Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Tony Tumusa (Melbourne Storm), Zach Dockar-Clay (Parramatta Eels), James Fisher-Harris, Sione Katoa (Penrith Panthers), Watson Heleta, Lamar Liolevave, Te Maire Martin (Wests Tigers), Jamayne Isaako (Cronulla Sharks), Daniel Levi (Newcastle Knights), Joseph Manu, Taane Milne (Sydney Roosters), Renouf To’omaga (Canterbury Bulldogs) and Braden Uele (North Queensland Cowboys).[6]

A New Zealand under-18 side toured Australia in September, playing two matches against the Australian Schoolboys. They lost the first 24-70 and the second 6-30.[11][12] The matches were nearly cancelled due to funding issues.[13] The squad was Tarquinn Alatipi (Wellington), Whitiroa Davis (Akarana), Keanu Dawson (Upper Central), Josh Farrant (Akarana), Rory Ferguson (Southern), Jackson Ferris (Mid Central), Bostyn Hakaraia (Akarana), Morgan Harper (Upper Central), Phoenix Hunt (Counties Manukau), Kenese Kenese (Counties Manukau), Dean Kouka-Smith (Akarana), Rory Marshall-Barton (Counties Manukau), Tyrone Nathan (Counties Manukau), Fabian Paletua-Kiri (Mid-Central), Isaiah Papalii (Akarana), David Phillips (Counties Manukau), Chris Sio (Akarana), Lewis Soosemea (Counties Manukau) and Auzzie Tuwhangai (Akarana).[14]

A New Zealand Maori Residents side defeated Auckland 36-32 on 30 May 2015 at Puketawhero Park in Rotorua.[15] The Maori side was coached by Ricky Henry and included Kouma Samson, Malo Solomona and Jeremiah Pai while Auckland was coached by Richie Blackmore and included Willie Peace, Eliakim Uasi, Roman Hifo, Tulson Caird and Herman Retzlaff.

National competitions[edit]

Rugby League Cup[edit]

Auckland were the holders of the Rugby League Cup but did not contest the trophy. They had not defended the trophy since 2012.

National Competition[edit]

2015 was the sixth year of the National Competition.

A merit team was announced at the conclusion of the tournament and consisted of George Edwards (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Joseph Oti (Wellington Orcas), Matt Sauni (Canterbury Bulls), Simione Ma’amaloa (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Andrew Tusiane (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Tevin Arona (Canterbury Bulls), Ray Talimalie (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Saipani Aiolupo (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Kruz Tupo (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Chris Bamford (Canterbury Bulls), Sione Feao (Counties Manukau Stingrays), James Baxendale (Canterbury Bulls) and Nick Read (Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions). Bench: Uila Aiolupo (Counties Manukau Stingrays), Eli George (Northern Swords), Erwin Sauni (Canterbury Bulls) and Jeremy Siulepa (Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions).[18]

Season standings[edit]

Team Pld W D L B PF PA Pts
Counties Manukau Stingrays 6 5 0 1 1 302 100 12
Canterbury Bulls 6 5 0 1 1 246 116 12
Waicoa Bay Stallions 6 5 0 1 1 198 110 12
Akarana Falcons 6 2 1 3 1 188 168 7
Wellington Orcas 6 2 1 3 1 166 213 7
Central Vipers 6 1 0 5 1 134 332 4
Northern Swords 6 0 0 6 1 88 281 2



Home Score Away Match Information
Date Venue
Counties Manukau Stingrays 41 - 10 Canterbury Bulls 17 October Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland[18]

Regional competitions[edit]

The Manawatu Mustangs defeated the Taranaki Sharks 38-34, and Hawkes Bay 56-22 to win the central region tri-series.[20]

The Canterbury "A" team won the South Island provincial rugby league competition.[21]

Australian competitions[edit]

The New Zealand Warriors played their 21st first grade season in the Australian competition, playing in the National Rugby League and finishing 13th.

The Warriors also fielded teams in the New South Wales Cup and Holden Cup, finishing fourth and seventh respectively. Both sides made the finals, the NSW Cup side lost two finals matches, while the Holden Cup side won two matches, before being eliminated by the Penrith Panthers in the preliminary final.

In February, Auckland hosted the launch of the 2015 NRL season, as well as the 2015 NRL Auckland Nines. A NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and St. George Illawarra Dragons was also be played in Napier at McLean Park on 25 July.[22]

Club competitions[edit]


The Point Chevalier Pirates won the Fox Memorial, defeating the Mount Albert Lions 22-10 in the final.[23]

The Papakura Sea Eagles won the pre-season rugby league nines competition, which was held in Whitianga.


The Te Aroha Eels beat the Wainuiomata Lions to win the Wellington Rugby League competition.[25]


The Papanui Tigers defeated the Linwood Keas 20-14 after extra time at AMI Stadium to win the Canterbury Rugby League competition for the first time in 17 years.[26]


The Hikurangi Stags won the Northland Rugby League Premiership title, defeating the Takahiwai Warriors 20-16 at Toll Stadium, Whangarei.[27] [28]

The Otaua Valleys won the inaugural Northland Rugby League Championship title, defeating the Pawerenga Broncos 28-12 at Toll Stadium, Whangarei.[27] [29]

Other leagues[edit]

The Hamilton City Tigers defeated Taniwharau 33-12 to win the Waikato Rugby League title.[30]

The Pacific Sharks, from Tokoroa, defeated the Taupo Phoenix 34-30 in the final of the Bay of Plenty-Coastline Rugby League competition.[31]

The Marist Dragons won the Taranaki Rugby League season, defeating the Coastal Cobras 28-10 at Pukekura Park in the grand final.[32]

The Tahunanui Tigers won the Tasman Rugby League title, defeating the Victory Phoenix 30-22.[33]

The South Pacific Raiders defeated the East Coast Eagles 26-24 at Forsyth Barr Stadium to win the Otago Rugby League title.[34]

The West Coast Rugby League celebrated 100 years during the season.[35]


  1. ^ Kiwis to tour England in 2015 nzherald.co.nz, 4 September 2014
  2. ^ https://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-league/34622520
  3. ^ Kiwis defeat Kangaroos for third time in a row to win Anzac test 26-12 in Brisbane stuff.co.nz, 3 May 2015
  4. ^ "Kiwis stun Kangaroos in Brisbane". nrl.com. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "ANZAC Test representatives to play for the Charles Savory Medal". nrl.com. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Strong NZ sides for Anzac encounters nzrl.co.nz, 26 April 2015
  7. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-15/new-zealand-now-top-ranked-rugby-league-team-in-world/6471462
  8. ^ Kiwi Ferns go down 22-14 to Jillaroos in Anzac test curtain raiser in Brisbane stuff.co.nz, 3 May 2015
  9. ^ Amberley-based servicemen share in Australia’s triumph Queensland Times, 4 May 2015
  10. ^ Junior Kangaroos edge Junior Kiwis by two in thriller on Gold Coast stuff.co.nz, 2 May 2015
  11. ^ Australian Schoolboys defeat NZ nrl.com, 27 September 2015
  12. ^ "Australian Schoolboys reign supreme in two-Test series". asiapacificrl.com. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015. 
  13. ^ NZ Under-18 fixtures back on after deal reached nzherald.co.nz, 21 August 2015
  14. ^ Schools heroes added to 18S scoop.co.nz, 23 September 2015
  15. ^ "Auckland Fall Just Short Against NZ Maori Residents". aucklandleague.co.nz. 30 May 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  16. ^ Akarana Falcons nzrl.co.nz
  17. ^ Counties Manukau Stingrays[permanent dead link] nzrl.co.nz
  18. ^ a b Stingrays romp home in premiership final nzrl.co.nz, 17 October 2015
  19. ^ National Competition nzrl.co.nz
  20. ^ "Manawatu Mustangs are the Central region champions". Manawatu Standard. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  21. ^ "Canterbury Bulls appoint new rugby league coach". stuff.co.nz. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 
  22. ^ Melbourne Storm to 'host' Dragons in Napier on July 25 stuff.co.nz, 26 February 2015
  23. ^ Pt Chev Pirates dominate Fox Memorial grand final maoritelevision.com, 7 September 2015
  24. ^ "Fox Memorial rugby league: 'The best show on grass'". stuff.co.nz. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  25. ^ Te Aroha Eels beat Wainuiomata Lions in Wellington rugby league final stuff.co.nz, 8 August 2015
  26. ^ "Papanui Tigers break 17-year drought to win Canterbury rugby league grand final". The Press. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  27. ^ a b "Northern Advocate". 17 August 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  28. ^ "RLN Premiership - Grand Finals - Rugby League Northland". Rugby League Northland. 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  29. ^ "RLN Championship Champions - Rugby League Northland". Rugby League Northland. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  30. ^ "Hamilton City Tigers win premier rugby league final against Taniwharau". stuff.co.nz. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015. 
  31. ^ "League: Sharks snatch second grand final win (+pics&video)". Rotorua Daily Post. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 18 August 2015. 
  32. ^ "Marist Dragons give three players the perfect sendoff". Taranaki Daily Times. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  33. ^ "Tahunanui Tigers roar past Victory Phoenix to secure their first ever TRL title". Nelson Mail. 2 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  34. ^ "Raiders get the spoils in close match". Otago Daily Times. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  35. ^ "West Coast rugby league celebrates 100 years". stuff.co.nz. 10 August 2015. Retrieved 17 August 2015.