Sunday 25 February 2018 / 06:40 AM

Four Nations preview and week 2 line-ups

Three teams have made intriguing changes following last weekend’s outstanding Four Nations double-header at Suncorp Stadium, with England the only side to go into week two with an unchanged line-up.



Despite the emphatic 30-12 loss to the Kiwis on Saturday, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens has resisted the urge to make wholesale changes to his team for the must-win showdown with England in Melbourne.


Daly Cherry-Evans has been named at five-eighth again despite suffering an apparently serious hip injury against New Zealand, but Ben Hunt is on an extended bench as cover. The only change to the backline is the dumping of winger Daniel Tupou, who had an unhappy debut last week; he has been replaced by Sione Mata’utia. The Newcastle rookie will break Geoff Starling’s long-standing record as Australia’s youngest-ever representative, and Israel Folau’s mark as Australia’s youngest-ever Test player set in 2007.


Corey Parker has moved into the starting backrow and Ryan Hoffman will drop back to the bench, while Boyd Cordner has replaced Josh Papalii – who remains on the extended bench with Hunt and David Klemmer – in the interchange contingent.


Given the way the Kangaroos were physically dominated by the Kiwis, drafting big man Papalii out for another backrower is a curious call – particularly as a clash with James Graham and the Burgess twins looms. Whatever the reasoning, the Australian selectors’ decision to pick only two specialist props (Aaron Woods and Klemmer) is already showing signs of derailing the world champs’ campaign.


1. Greg Inglis
2. Josh Mansour
3. Michael Jennings
4. Dylan Walker
5. Sione Mata’utia
6. Daly Cherry-Evans
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Aaron Woods
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Sam Thaiday
11. Beau Scott
12. Greg Bird
13. Corey Parker


14.    Boyd Cordner
15.    Robbie Farah
16.    Aidan Guerra
17.    Ryan Hoffman
18.    Ben Hunt
19.    David Klemmer
20.    Josh Papalii




Tour captain Sean O’Loughlin was scheduled to return from an injury he picked up in the Super League grand final, but England has announced an unchanged 17 to the one that had trouble subduing Samoa.


Coach Steve McNamara indicated there could be changes before the blockbuster against Australia, however, with a number of players unable to train early this week after the rugged tournament opener.


1. Sam Tomkins
2. Josh Charnley
3. Kallum Watkins
4. Michael Shenton
5. Ryan Hall
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Matty Smith
8. George Burgess
9. Josh Hodgson
10. James Graham (c)
11. Liam Farrell
12. Joel Tomkins
13. Joe Westerman


14. Daryl Clark
15. Brett Ferres
16. Thomas Burgess
17. Chris Hill




The Kiwis have made three changes to the side that dominated Australia in Brisbane. Surprisingly left out of the line-up last week, Manu Vatuvei comes in on the wing for Gerard Beale, who mixed the good with the abysmal in his return to the Test team. ‘The Beast’ can stake a claim for a spot in the bigger games remaining in the tournament. The backline is otherwise unchanged.


Isaac Luke has returned from suspension in the place of Thomas Leuluai, while Lewis Brown retains the bench utility role after a stellar performance in his first outing for the Kiwis in three years.


New Zealand will take the same starting pack into the clash with Samoa in Whangarei, but Suaia Matagi – a Samoan representative at last year’s World Cup – has been named to make his Kiwis debut off the bench, with Greg Eastwood rested.


Uncapped Bodene Thompson has been included as 18th man.


1. Peta Hiku

2. Jason Nightingale

3. Dean Whare

4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall

5. Manu Vatuvei

6. Kieran Foran

7. Shaun Johnson

8. Jesse Bromwich

9. Issac Luke

10. Adam Blair

11. Simon Mannering (c)

12. Kevin Proctor

13. Jason Taumalolo



14. Lewis Brown

15. Suaia Matagi

16. Martin Taupau

17. Tohu Harris

18. Bodene Thompson




After earning the respect and adulation of the rugby league world via their gallant 32-26 loss to England, Samoa has made a handful of changes for their encounter with New Zealand in Whangarei.


Tim Lafai gives Samoa’s backline an even more imposing look, replacing Ricky Leutele in the centres in the only change to the backline.


From last week’s starting pack, prop Sam Tagatese and hooker Michael Sio have dropped out of the side. Isaac Liu and last week’s two-try hero Pita Godinet have been promoted from the bench, while Dunamis Lui and Sauaso Sue join the interchange contingent.


Sue is the only one of the trio suspended after the Brisbane nightclub brawl to win a recall; Reni Maitua and Tautau Moga are still on the outer.


1. Tim Simona
2. Antonio Winterstein
3. Tim Lafai
4. Joey Leilua
5. Daniel Vidot
6. Ben Roberts
7. Kyle Stanley
8. Isaac Liu
9. Pita Godinet
10. David Fa’alogo (c)
11. Frank Pritchard
12. Leeson Ah Mau
13. Josh McGuire


14. Dunamis Lui
15. Jesse Sene-Lefao
16. Sauaso Sue
17.  Mose Masoe
18. Dominique Peyroux
19. Penani Manumalealii

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About the author

Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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