7 Apr 2015

Kiwis to play Leeds

7:33 am on 7 April 2015

The New Zealand rugby league team, the Kiwis, will play Leeds as a part of their preparations for their international series in England later this year.

The Kiwis captain Simon Mannering thanks the crowd.

The Kiwis captain Simon Mannering thanks the crowd. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The match on Friday, October 23 will be the first time a Super League club has played a touring side since 2002 and marks the 125th anniversary of Headingley Stadium.

Fittingly, the link with New Zealand goes back to those early days of the stadium and the famous All Golds touring side that arrived in England in 1907.

The Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington says to have been granted a game against the current Four Nations champions is a huge honour and a privilege for Leeds Rhinos.

New Zealand are no strangers to Headingley having played there against Papua New Guinea and Scotland on their way to the 2013 World Cup final.

The club-versus-country contest will give England an early look at the Kiwis ahead of the three-Test series which begins at Hull's KC Stadium on November 1st.

The match will be 108 years, almost to the day, since Leeds met the All Golds met at Headingley for the first time on October 26, 1907.

Headingley also hosted rugby league's first ever test three months later, with the Northern Union winning 14-6.

In 11 previous contests, the New Zealand national side has only lost to Leeds once (1972).

They last played in 1992, but more recently the Kiwis attracted huge crowds for their 2013 World Cup wins over Papua New Guinea and Scotland at Headingley Carnegie.

"To have been granted a game against the current Four Nations champions is a huge honour and a privilege for Leeds Rhinos," says Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington.

"Ourselves and the Kiwis have a long shared history, and this will be the chance to write a new chapter."

"Our links with New Zealand include the many great players who have played for us down the years, like Bert Cooke, Dean Bell and Ali Lauitiiti."

"This will be fitting way to bring down the curtain on the 2015 season and a special occasion to be at Headingley, just like our recent World Club Challenge clashes with Melbourne and Manly."

"The current group of players have achieved so much together, however this would be a first even for them and it will be a special night."

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