THE two opponents for the NSW Country under 23 men's team's historic tour of New Zealand in October have been decided.
The side, selected after the Country Championships in April, will first play the North Island Championship Team on Tuesday, October 8 at Rotorua's Puketawhero Park before battling the Canterbury Bulls four days later at Christchurch's Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub.
Five Group Seven stars will be in action for Josh Cale's side across the Tasman, including Kiama trio Cam Vazzoler, Tyler Clark and Luke Chalker and Shellharbour pair Donte Efaraimo and Juvilee Samiu.
Having visited Papua New Guinea last year - a side which included Shellharbour's Jack Kavanagh and Jamberoo's Corey Grigg - and played Samoa and Scotland in warm-up matches for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, CRL chief executive officer Terry Quinn believes this year's tour presents a fantastic opportunity for the players selected.
"This is the first time Country Rugby League will tour New Zealand with our under 23 men's representaive side - we are extremely excited," Quinn said.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for some of the brightest talent in regional New South Wales to showcase their skill and compete against players they wouldn't normally compete against, as well as experience a different culture.
"The relationship we have with New Zealand Rugby League is one we are hoping to continue for many years and this tour is a fantastic opportunity for Australian and New Zealand Rugby League to unite."
Joining the Group Seven quintet in the side are fellow Illawarra South Coast Dragons Tony Pellow, Michael Appletree (both Western Suburbs), Cooper Purcell (Thirroul) and Paul Roberts (Collegians).
Rounding out the 18-man squad are Monaro Colts' Harry Van Dartel, Isiah Latu, Tre Williams, Josh Stuckey and Nicolas Halalilo, Central Coast Roosters' Jacob McCudden and Connor O'Beirne, Northern Rivers Tigers' Kyle Kennedy and Riverina's Zac Masters.