The Pasifika Youth League Cup officially kicked off yesterday in Auckland,

Last year's U18 champs, NZ Māori, opened its campaign against Samoa.

And despite having one of the top NRL prospects in their ranks, the Māori team found it tough going against the Islanders.

The side consists of the most promising young Māori men including Tuki Simpkins, who is a name that's being talked about highly throughout the rugby and rugby league world.

Tyrese Ratahi is another one that has had the opportunity to go to Australia to take up a training camp at the Knights.

But the challenge ahead of them is tough, the opposition is full of the top talent, most almost professional.

38-16 to Samoa was the final score.

They played yesterday afternoon against Niue, and today against Tonga.