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Kiwis players line up for the national anthem, L_R  Kevin Proctor, Thomas Leuluai, Jason Nightingale and Shaun Johnson during the New Zealand Kiwis v England match. Four Nations Rugby League. Dunedin, New Zealand. Saturday 8 November 2014. Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

Utility Thomas Leuluai has been ruled out of the Kiwi side for Saturday's Four Nations final against the Kangaroos at Westpac Stadium in Wellington (8.30pm kick-off).

Leuluai, who started at hooker in last weekend's gritty 16-14 win against England in Dunedin, hasn't recovered from a shoulder injury.

The 29-year-old 33-Test veteran has been robbed of the chance of playing in his third major final, having been involved in the Kiwis' 2008 Rugby League World Cup and 2010 Four Nations success.

He also misses out on the possibility of achieving the rare distinction of being a part of five Test victories against Australian sides (he was in Kiwi teams that have triumphed against the Kangaroos in 2003, 2008, 2010 and three weeks ago in Brisbane).  

Leuluai's absence sees former Vodafone Warrior Lewis Brown return to the interchange, the role he filled in the earlier wins against Australia and Toa Samoa. South Sydney's Issac Luke is named to start at hooker.

The rest of the starting line-up is the same as the combination used against England in Dunedin while Greg Eastwood, Martin Taupau and Tohu Harris join Brown on the bench. Captain Simon Mannering, playing his 40th Test, will again have clubmates Manu Vatuvei and Shaun Johnson alongside him.

Also included as cover are utility Gerard Beale and new Vodafone Warriors signing Bodene Thompson.

KIWIS | 1 Peta Hiku; 2 Jason Nightingale, 3 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 4 Dean Whare, 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. Interchange: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Greg Eastwood, 16 Martin Taupau, 17 Tohu Harris, 18 Gerard Beale, 19 Bodene Thompson.


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