The Canberra Raiders Vikings 18s squad landed in Ōtautahi Christchurch on Wednesday for a two-match tour – getting underway on Thursday evening at Brookside Park.

The Vikings line-up – consisting of the most promising 17- and 18-year-olds from Canberra’s Harold Matthews side and first-year SG Ball players – square off against Canterbury 19s in their opening fixture, kicking off at 6pm.

In their second encounter on Sunday, the visitors take on South Island Scorpions 18s at Halswell Domain at 11.30am.

“For the development of these kids, it will really help them learn … and really understand what it means to be a Raider,” Raiders Elite Pathways coach Chris Hutchison told club media prior to the team’s departure.

“The physicality is the most important thing we want to get out of this group, but also the education and what it takes to move through the grades.”

“The idea of taking our guys over [to New Zealand] is to get them to play some quality opposition and to continue to develop them so that when they start the junior rep season next year, they hit the ground running and they’re suitably adjusted,” Raiders Pathways & Performance Manager Dean Souter added.

While it’s a challenging schedule, the local teams also have a truncated build-up: Canterbury 19s had their first training session on Wednesday night, while the Scorpions 18s are backing up from the South Island Youth Tournament, which wrapped up in Oamaru on Monday.

With 19 of the 22-strong Scorpions squad hailing from Canterbury, the Canterbury 19s side will be bolstered by five players from Southland and West Coast.

“It’s great to provide another opportunity for our up-and-coming talent against elite opposition,” Canterbury Rugby League Director of Football Jamie Lester says.

“We had St Gregory’s College from NSW play Linwood and Papanui 18s earlier in the year and now we have Canberra 18s taking on Canterbury 19s. It’s such an important age group for us to keep in the game and continue their journey in rugby league.

“I got a chance to speak to the boys at training last night and I was honest about the challenge ahead with our limited preparation. However, the opportunity to play against a team of this standard is something to behold. I think they are a little nervous and very excited at the same time.”



Genesis SherlockLinwood
Jake HaywardHornby
Alofa FaaivaLinwood
Seki FifitaSouthland
Kassius Halbert-PereRiccarton
Te Apatu ChristieHalswell
Jacob NymanHalswell
Mita MaamaloaLinwood
Jak MoretonSouthland
Lino FidowEastern
TJ Kose-KepaRiccarton
Nate CorbettSouthland
Harvey TaconWest Coast
Mac GibsonWest Coast
Tarquin HobbsNorthern
Levi Davis NevinHornby
Xavier TalatonuLinwood
Julius MumutaLinwood
Simon UlianoPapanui
Reupena FialeleHalswell
Ngaheke NepataHornby
Richie TupuaileiCanterbury

Coach: Sam Kakoi
Assistant Coach: Alani Kakoi
Manager: Jess Kakoi
Trainer: Dana Arcus



Meihana PaulingCanterburyHalswell
Xavier LynchCanterburyHalswell
Jackson StewartCanterburyHornby
Dakota KakoiCanterburyLinwood
Maretino KaloudauCanterburyHornby
Eli Bijl-KakoiCanterburyLinwood
Dion Fong-YipCanterburyHornby
Revelation MumutaCanterburyLinwood
Noah Harmer-CampbellCanterburyHornby
Jaydyn HoeataCanterburyLinwood
Jason SalaliloCanterburyPapanui
Te Kaio CranwellCanterburyLinwood
Zeke Faga-IetiCanterburyHornby
Ezekiel PauloCanterburyPapanui
Thomas IrvingCanterburyLinwood
Matty MolloyWest Coast
Toby GibsonCanterburyHornby
Chelden HeywardCanterburyLinwood
Kyan RosieCanterburyHornby
Kaya WipiataCanterburyPapanui
Aston WilsonWest CoastHornby
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