Vodafone Warriors centre Solomone Kata is one of two players named to make their Kiwi Test debuts in Saturday’s international against the Kangaroos at nib Stadium in Perth (10.00pm kick-off NZT).
Kata (21) has been named to team up on the left edge alongside vastly-experienced wing Jason Nightingale.
The explosive Kata has previously made four international appearances for Mate Ma’a Tonga, including this year’s Polynesian Cup Test against Toa Samoa.
He has just completed his second NRL season, ending it as the Vodafone Warriors’ top try-scorer for the second straight year; his 15 tries lifted his tally to 27 in 45 NRL appearances.
The other debutant named by new Kiwi head coach David Kidwell is Canberra’s Jordan Rapana (27), who has just come off an outstanding campaign which saw him named the Dally M Winger of the Year. He scored 23 tries in 27 games and has 36 in 53 games overall; he has previously played at international level for Cook Islands.
Rapana will be paired on the right edge with seasoned Sydney Roosters centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall, set to make his 18th Test appearance since his debut in 2007.
Kidwell has opted for Brisbane’s Jordan Kahu at fullback meaning there is no room for Vodafone Warrior David Fusitu’a.
Apart from Kata, three other Vodafone Warriors are included with Thomas Leuluai and Shaun Johnson in the halves and Issac Luke at hooker.
With Simon Mannering unavailable for this match following minor knee surgery – he joins the squad for the Four Nations – the starting back row features Melbourne’s Kevin Proctor and Tohu Harris plus North Queensland’s wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo. Recalled Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and captain Jesse Bromwich are the starting props.
Omitted from the 19 players named are Mannering, Fusitu’a, Greg Eastwood, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Te Maire Martin.
Australia’s Matt Cecchin has been confirmed to referee the contest.
KIWIS v KANGAROOS
nib Stadium, Perth
Saturday, October 15, 10.00pm (NZT)
1 JORDAN KAHU
2 JASON NIGHTINGALE
3 SOLOMONE KATA
4 SHAUN KENNY-DOWALL
5 JORDAN RAPANA
6 THOMAS LEULUAI
7 SHAUN JOHNSON
8 JESSE BROMWICH (C)
9 ISSAC LUKE
10 JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES
11 KEVIN PROCTOR
12 TOHU HARRIS
13 JASON TAUMALOLO
14 LEWIS BROWN
15 MARTIN TAUPAU
16 MANU MA'U
17 ADAM BLAIR
18 JOSEPH TAPINE
19 GERARD BEALE
COACH | DAVID KIDWELL