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Auckland to host NRL Nines for five years

Auckland will host the NRL's Nines tournament for five years, beginning next February.
Auckland to host NRL Nines for five years
by AAP

AUCKLAND, Sept 4 AAP - Auckland will host the NRL's Nines tournament for five years, beginning next February.

The first tournament, featuring all 16 NRL clubs competing for a $2.25 million purse, will be held at Eden Park over two days in February 2014.

It comes after an agreement with the NRL, promoters Duco Events and the Auckland Council-owned Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.

It will be held for the first time from February 15-16.

NRL clubs have guaranteed at least one top five player from each team's salary cap will play, alongside at least 12 of each club's top 25 salary-capped players, Duco Events' David Higgins said.

He said that contrary to some media reports, there will be no exemption for players participating in the Rugby League World Cup at the end of 2013.

"We have heard from a number of players who will almost certainly be at the World Cup who have told us that they definitely want to be a part of the first NRL Auckland Nines," he said.

The 16 clubs will be split into four groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing. Games will be played over two nine-minute halves.

"We are taking the world's greatest rugby league competition and condensing it into a fast-paced, high-impact shortened format over two days," Higgins said.

The event was organised after the postponement of the pre-season NRL All Stars match to help players recover from this year's World Cup in England and Wales from October 26 to November 30.

The NRL Nines is aiming to duplicate the success of the Wellington Sevens rugby event, which is held the previous weekend, with Higgins hopeful 96,000 people will turn up at Eden Park over the two days.


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