Quartet to debut for Kiwis - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Quartet to debut for Kiwis

11/10/2009 01:30:27 PM Comments (0)

Four of New Zealand's seven newcomers will make their international debuts in Wednesday night's one-off rugby league Test against Tonga in Rotorua ahead of the Four Nations tournament.

Coach Stephen Kearney named Newcastle centre Junior Sau, Bulldogs winger Bryson Goodwin and Sydney Roosters prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala in the starting line-up while Rotorua-born Jared Waerea-Hargreaves is included on the interchange bench.

Also named in the combination are two of the Kiwis' four players involved in last Sunday's NRL grand final.

Premiership-winning Melbourne prop Jeff Lima is starting in the front row while his Storm team-mate Adam Blair is on the bench.

"Tonga will give us exactly the opposition we're looking for as we start a new campaign. For us, nothing matters but this Test at the moment," said Kearney.

"It's a good way to introduce four of our new boys to Test football.

"The Tongans have plenty to look forward to with the Pacific Cup coming up and we'd expect them to make it a tough night for us."

Other features of the Kiwis selection are the pairing of Nathan Fien at halfback and captain Benji Marshall at standoff with Manly's Steve Matai recalled in the centres after missing the end of the World Cup tournament and this year's Anzac Test.

South Sydney's Issac Luke, who missed the Anzac Test through suspension, returns as the starting hooker while Wigan's Thomas Leuluai - the run-on dummy half in the 2008 World Cup final - is on the bench.

Returning after last playing for the Kiwis in the 2008 Centenary Test against Australia is Penrith back rower Frank Pritchard.

The match is important in terms of the Kiwis' preparation for their campaign in the inaugural Four Nations in England and France and it also serves as a build-up for Tonga's bid in the forthcoming Pacific Cup in Papua New Guinea.

The winner of that tournament will be the fourth side involved alongside the Kiwis, the Kangaroos and England in the 2010 Four Nations in New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand: Lance Hohaia, Bryson Goodwin, Steve Matai, Junior Sau, Sam Perrett, Benji Marshall (capt) Nathan Fien, Jeff Lima, Issac Luke, Frank-Paul Nuuausala, Bronson Harrison, Frank Pritchard, Greg Eastwood. Interchange: Thomas Leuluai, Iosia Soliola, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Adam Blair.

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