Rotorua brothers flag bearers for touch series

Brothers Shaquille and Maurice Stone of Te Arawa will lead the NZ touch teams as flag bearers in the opening ceremony for the Open Trans-Tasman Series which starts tomorrow in Rotorua. 

NZ are currently second in the world rankings and hope to shake Australia's hold on the number one spot.

The NZ Touch teams began camp yesterday.

Maurice Stone says, “obviously being a home boy it's a huge honour to be able to be the flag bearer beside my brother in our home town so it's going an awesome occasion”.

His brother Shaquille says, “I’m just proud to represent them and my iwi [and] touch community and just NZ.  It's just going to be a proud moment tomorrow”.

Both brothers are in the NZ Open Men's touch team that will play in the Trans-Tasman Series.

The last time NZ played Australia it didn't go our way.

Captain of the Open NZ Men’s team Mita Graham says, “It's been 12 months since our team has played them so we have been training, getting ready, so I'm excited for tomorrow's competition”.

NZ Mixed, Women's and Mens will be playing Australia three times over this weekend.  The series is a good build-up for the youth players who will be heading to Kuala Lumpur in August for the Youth World Cup.

“They're not the best in the world for nothing, they're number one for a reason.  So, no doubt they have come here to our whenua and will put on the best effort that they can and we will do our best to match them or go better.  They are a tough challenge so it's not going to be easy,” says Stone.

The opening ceremony for the series begins at 2pm tomorrow afternoon at the Rotorua International Stadium.

The first game is at 4pm for the Open Mixed section.