The third edition of the Auckland Nines has been announced.
The tournament will be played on Saturday February 6 and Sunday February 7, 2016 at Auckland’s Eden Park.
Defending Nines champions Souths will play traditional rivals Sydney Roosters, Parramatta and Melbourne in Pool Waiheke.
NRL premiers (and 2014 Nines winners) North Queensland face Newcastle, Penrith and the Wests Tigers in Pool Rangitoto.
NRL runners-up Brisbane play Canterbury, Manly and hometown favourites the NZ Warriors in Pool Hunua.
Last year’s Nines runners up Cronulla play St.George-Illawarra, Canberra and Gold Coast in Pool Piha.
The Australian Women’s team – the Jillaroos – will play the Kiwi Ferns again during the tournament.
Pool Hunua: Canterbury Bulldogs, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, NZ Warriors, Brisbane Broncos
Pool Waiheke: Sydney Roosters, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels, Melbourne Storm
Pool Rangitoto: Newcastle Knights, North Queensland Cowboys, Penrith Panthers, Wests Tigers
Pool Piha: St. George-Illawarra Dragons, Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, Gold Coast Titans
The Nines rules include:
- Two nine-minute halves and a two-minute half time period.
- Nine players a side with six unlimited interchange players
- Scrums only from a double knock on.
- One on-field referee, two touch judges, two in-goal judges, no video referee.
- Five-minute “golden try” extra time in qualifying rounds, unlimited “golden try” for the finals.
- Tap restart after a 40/20.
- Bonus point try (scored under the posts) is five points. Drop kick conversions worth two points.
- The scoring team drop kicks to restart play.
- Five-minute sin bins (Five in 2014).
- Five-tackle sets.
The NRL’s third edition of the Nines continues rugby league’s experiment with the shorter game. The World Sevens was a popular pre-season tournament from 1988 to 2004, featuring local teams and international sides. Manly won three times in the nineties (1990, 1994, 1995) before the tournament was stopped in 1997. It was revived in 2003, with Parramatta (2003) and Wests Tigers (2004) winning. The 2004 edition featured a four-tackle rule instead of six.
Super League held two Nines tournaments in 1996 and 1997. The inaugural tournament was played in Fiji, with 16 international teams. The 1997 tournament was held in Townsville with just 12 teams. New Zealand won both tournaments, beating PNG and Western Samoa.