Debuts for four players including Vodafone Warrior Tuimoala Lolohea and starting line-up changes in the pack feature in the Kiwis’ first Test team against England at KC Stadium in Hull on Monday morning (6.00am kick-off NZT).
Coach Stephen Kearney has named the same 19-man squad used in last week’s 34-16 warm-up win over Leeds with Alex Glenn and Lewis Brown named as 18th man and 19th man on an extended bench.
As well as halfback Lolohea, centre Jordan Kahu and interchange players Kodi Nikorima and Sio Siua Taukeiaho will make their Test debuts.
Co-captain Adam Blair (calf) and Kahu (groin) have both been selected but remain in some doubt due to the injuries they picked up in the match against the Rhinos.
Veteran Blair has been selected to start at loose forward and Sam Moa at prop after both being used from the bench against Leeds. The changes see Vodafone Warriors front rower Ben Matulino and Wests Tigers enforcer Martin Taupau now set to provide impact from the bench (12 interchanges are permitted in Tests).
The backline is the same as the one which started against Leeds.
“The purpose of last week’s exercise was to give a run to some guys that hadn’t played in a while,” said Kearney.
“It was a matter of building that consistency, that’s why they’ve got the opportunity again this week.”
Kahu and Blair have recovered sufficiently to be included in the extended 19-man test squad. The starting line-up will be finalised shortly before kick-off.
Blair’s calf strain has caused the most concern through the past week and he has been carefully managed by the medical team.
“That’s still an ongoing exercise and we’ll make a call on Adam as late as tomorrow,” said Kearney. “If he’s unable to take the field, we’ve got some pretty handy replacements.
“Hopefully, for Adam, he will get the chance to skipper the team with Issac Luke.”
SKY Sport 2 begins its coverage at 5.30am on Monday.
ENGLAND v KIWIS
5.00pm, Sunday, November 1 (6.00am Monday, November 2 NZT)
KC Stadium, Hull
Referee | Ben Thaler
1 ROGER TUIVASA-SHECK
2 JASON NIGHTINGALE
3 JORDAN KAHU
4 DEAN WHARE
5 SHAUN KENNY-DOWALL
6 PETA HIKU
7 TUIMOALA LOLOHEA
8 JESSE BROMWICH
9 ISSAC LUKE (co-captain)
10 SAM MOA
11 KEVIN PROCTOR
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 ADAM BLAIR (co-captain)
14 KODI NIKORIMA
15 MARTIN TAUPAU
16 BEN MATULINO
17 SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO
18 ALEX GLENN
19 LEWIS BROWN
HEAD COACH | STEPHEN KEARNEY