The 2015 NRL Auckland Nines will form part of the NRL pre-season precede the 2015 NRL competition with a two day tournament on January 31 and February 1 at Auckland’s Eden Park.
All 16 National Rugby League teams will compete in the competition spanning just two days, with at least 12 of each club’s top 25 salary capped players as well as one top five player from each of the club’s salary cap guaranteed to take part also—providing fans with two action-packed days of top-class rugby league.
All teams will play three matches against other teams in their group, with each match spanning two nine-minute halves, and will be televised live on Fox Sports and Sky Sports NZ.
COMPETITION FORMAT, POOLS AND FIXTURES
All 16 teams are split up into four equal groups where they will each play one another in the group stage. From there, the top two teams from each group will move on to the quarterfinals, where the winners from those eight games will play in a knockout format through to the Grand Final.
The entire Auckland Nines event will be broadcast on Fox Sports through Australia and Sky Sports in New Zealand. The broadcast of the event will begin mid morning Australian time, but we will update this page when
2015 Auckland Nines Pools
POOL A (RAGITOTO)
POOL B (WAIHEKE)
POOL C (PIHA)
POOL D (HUNUA RANGES)
Teams to watch
Group A: Eels
The Eels were the surprise packets of the Nines in 2014, with winger Semi Radradra proving unstoppable out wide to claim the top try scorer award. Along with the emerging talent the Eels have at their disposal, prop and captain Tim Mannah provides plenty of leadership, go-forward and experience up front. But it’s the slew of hard running, quick centres and backrowers that make the Eels dangerous. They might be without
Group B: Penrith Panthers
Many will see both the Cowboys and the South Sydney Rabbitohs as the danger teams in Group B but don’t rule out the Penrith Panthers from making an impact. They had a great year in 2014 in the NRL, and were one game away from the grand final led by Jamie Soward. They get an injured Peter Wallace back in 2015, and he should line up in the Nines. Guys like Josh Mansour and James Roberts will be incredibly tough to stop in this format, and if they get going, they’ll make Penrith a side to fear indeed.
Group C: Bulldogs
The Bulldogs made a remarkable run at the back end of 2014, before being stopped in the grand final by a rampaging Rabbitohs side. With Brett Morris now joining club to play alongside brother Josh, the Bulldogs now possess great pace to go with their dangerous big men like James Graham and Frank Pritchard. It could go horribly wrong, or it could be great for the Bulldogs, just as it was in 2014.
Group D: New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors will obviously head into the tournament as one of the teams to beat given their home ground advantage but also for their ball-playing ability. The likes of Feleti and Simon Mannering give them a good mix of size and speed in the forwards, while their dynamic halfback in Shaun Johnson will be able to utilize his touch-football skills to full extent. Throw in some of the quickest wide men in the game and the Warriors are certainly the team to beat in 2015.