1 June 2019

Kiwis forward Kevin Proctor is hopeful that New Zealand fans turn out for the Oceania Cup opener against Tonga in Auckland in June but is relishing the chance to play in front of a huge crowd regardless.

The Gold Coast second-rower was banned for the Kiwis’ loss to Mate Ma‘a Tonga during the Rugby League World Cup in 2017, but was looking forward to hopefully playing in the blockbuster rematch on June 22 at Mt Smart Stadium.

“I didn't get the chance to play in the first one so really excited if I get the chance to represent New Zealand and play against Tonga,” he told TVNZ’s Te Karere yesterday.

“I know they’re a proud country and they’ll sell out the stadium but hopefully we get heaps of Kiwi fans there, just as much as the Tongan ones.”

“If I get the chance, it’ll be mean.”

Tongan forward Leivaha Pulu, a former teammate of Proctor’s at the Gold Coast Titans, was also predicting another predominately Tongan crowd.

“You know at the end of the year, I was part of the squad (for the game against the Kangaroos), just to see the people turn out, I can tell this year man, everyone is already asking about the Kiwis game, everyone is keen to get on board.”

The former teammates will be hoping to line up in the second match of the double header on June 22, with the Kiwi Ferns’ clash with Fetu Samoa confirmed as the opening act.

Sui Tauasa Pauaraisa and Louisa Gago have represented the Kiwi Ferns previously but have switched to represent Fetu Samoa this year.

“This is to showcase what Samoan women have in this sport,” Pauaraisa said.

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