Five Wests Tigers players will be featured in this weekend’s Pacific Championships double-header in Melbourne, where Australia will take on New Zealand.
**Jillaroos vs Kiwi Ferns – 6pm Saturday 28th October at AAMI Park, Melbourne:**
– Kezie Apps, the Co-captain of Wests Tigers, will make her 15th appearance for Australia when the Jillaroos face the Kiwi Ferns. This marks a significant milestone for her, and she will join 15 other Australians who have also played 15 or more international matches for their country.
– Jakiya Whitfeld, a Wests Tigers teammate, will also reach a major career milestone alongside Apps. She will be joining the Cowboys next season.
– Wests Tigers teammates Leianne Tufuga and Najvada George have retained their places in the Kiwi Ferns team for a third consecutive match, following their 28-10 victory over Mate Ma’a Tonga at Eden Park last weekend.
These teams previously clashed two weeks ago in Townsville, with the Jillaroos winning 16-10, a significant difference from Australia’s 54-4 victory over the Kiwi Ferns in the Women’s World Cup last year.
**Kangaroos vs New Zealand Kiwis – 8pm Saturday 28th October at AAMI Park, Melbourne:**
– In the men’s match at AAMI Park, the Kangaroos will take on the Kiwis. Both sides have already secured their places in the Pac Champs final, making this match a dress rehearsal for the final.
– Isaiah Papali’i, a Wests Tigers edge forward, is part of the unchanged New Zealand lineup following their 50-0 victory over Samoa in Auckland last weekend. This will be his ninth appearance for the Kiwis.
– Papali’i is one of 12 New Zealand players who remain from the side that lost 16-14 to the Kangaroos when they last met in the 2022 World Cup semi-final.
**PNG Kumuls vs Fiji Bati – 4pm Sunday 29th October at Port Moresby:**
– The Pacific Championships will return to Port Moresby on Sunday, where Papua New Guinea will host Fiji Bati.
– Wests Tigers player Jahream Bula had a dream start to his international career, guiding Fiji to a hard-fought 22-18 victory over the Cook Islands last weekend. He scored a try, saved a try, and played a match-winning role on his debut.
– Bula will once again be joined in the Bati lineup by his Wests Tigers 2023 teammates Brandon Wakeham and Apisalome Saukuru.
– Using Fiji’s four-point win over the Cook Islands as a benchmark, it suggests that Sunday’s match could be a tough challenge for Bula and his teammates. The Kumuls previously defeated the Cook Islands 46-10 on the same turf two weeks ago.
– These teams had a closely fought contest in last year’s mid-season internationals at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, where the Kumuls emerged victorious with a 24-14 score.