Thursday 23 November 2017 / 03:22 AM

KIWIS SHAKE UP SPINE FOR FIJI SHOWDOWN

New Zealand has made multiple changes to their playmaking contingent for Saturday’s quarter-final clash with Fiji in Wellington.

Veteran utility and incumbent hooker Thomas Leuluai is the surprise fall guy after the Kiwis’ 28-22 loss to Tonga, left out of the 17 altogether with Danny Levi promoted from the bench to the No.9 jumper, while Kodi Nikorima drops back to the bench and Te Maire Martin comes in at five-eighth.

Impressive in the Kiwis’ opening win over Samoa, Nikorima has paid the price for a quiet showing against Tonga after winning a hairline selection decision over Martin – who bagged a superb hat-trick against Scotland – for last weekend’s marquee encounter.

Wellington junior Levi’s outstanding form off the pine has been rewarded with the opportunity to play in front of his home fans in the run-on side, while the must-win match takes on extra special significance for three other Wellington products, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine and Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

Meanwhile, winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has avoided the axe despite a second-half shocker against Tonga, fending off the challenge from 33-Test stalwart Jason Nightingale and Warriors-bound utility-back Peta Hiku, who were both outstanding in the victory over Scotland.

 

RLWC2017 | NEW ZEALAND KIWIS v FIJI BATI

7.30pm, Saturday, November 18

Westpac Stadium, Wellington

 

NEW ZEALAND KIWIS

(Kiwi numbers in brackets)  

1            ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK (#779) 15 Tests

2            DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (#794) 5 Tests

3            DEAN WHARE (#776) 18 Tests

4            BRAD TAKAIRANGI (#803) 3 Tests

5            JORDAN RAPANA (#798) 7 Tests

6            TE MAIRE MARTIN (#802) 2 Tests

7            SHAUN JOHNSON (#774) 24 Tests

8            MARTIN TAUPAU (#785) 19 Tests

9            DANNY LEVI (#806) 3 Tests

10          JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES (#755) 22 Tests

11          SIMON MANNERING (#731) 44 Tests

12          JOSEPH TAPINE (#800) 5 Tests

13          ADAM BLAIR (#732) 44 Tests (c)

Interchange:

14          NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA (804) 3 Tests

15          RUSSELL PACKER (#768) 6 Tests

16          ISAAC LIU (#805) 2 Tests

17          KODI NIKORIMA (#793) 7 Tests

18          KENNY BROMWICH (#796) 3 Tests

19          JASON NIGHTINGALE (#747) 33 Tests

20          PETA HIKU (#781) 10 Tests

21          ADDIN FONUA-BLAKE (#807) 1 Test

HEAD COACH | DAVID KIDWELL

Add Comment

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.

More nrl News

Special Features

PARTNERS