Winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returns in the only change to the New Zealand Kiwis’ 19-man squad for their Rugby League World Cup quarter-final against Fiji Bati at MKM Stadium in Hull on Saturday (7.30pm kick-off local time; 8.30am Sunday NZT).
The 27-year-old Watene-Zelezniak fills the vacancy created by prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ one-match suspension for a high tackle on Dan Norman in last Friday night’s win over Ireland in Leeds.
The squad has been named in alphabetical order with the final line-up to be confirmed 75 minutes before kick-off on Saturday.
Apart from Waerea-Hargreaves, the other players omitted are prop Moses Leota, centre-second rower Marata Niukore, centre Sebastian Kris and hooker Jeremy Marshall-King.
For the second time in successive World Cups, the Kiwis and Fiji meet at the quarter-final stage of the tournament.
When the two nations met for the first time in 2017, the Bati caused a major shock by winning 4-2 in a tryless contest in Wellington.
Of the squad named today, Watene-Zelezniak, Jordan Rapana, Joseph Tapine, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Isaac Liu all played in the 2017 encounter. Waerea-Hargreaves was also in the line-up that day while Kenny Bromwich and Peta Hiku weren’t selected.
The Kiwis go into their quarter-final after topping Pool C with victories over the Lebanon Cedars (34-12), Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors (68-6) and the Ireland Wolfhounds (48-10).
After losing 8-42 to the Kangaroos in their opening match, Fiji beat Italy’s Azzurri 60-4 and the Scotland Bravehearts 30-14 to finish runner-up in Pool B.
NZ KIWIS v FIJI BATI
MKM Stadium, Hull
7.30pm, Saturday, November 5, 2022
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS
16 NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA # 804
8 JESSE BROMWICH (c) # 775
12 KENNY BROMWICH # 796
6 DYLAN BROWN # 826
10 JAMES FISHER-HARRIS # 801
14 KIERAN FORAN # 757
4 PETA HIKU # 781
7 JAHROME HUGHES # 819
20 ISAAC LIU # 805
1 JOSEPH MANU # 815
2 RONALDO MULITALO # 824
21 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD # 820
17 BRITON NIKORA # 818
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I # 817
5 JORDAN RAPANA # 798
9 BRANDON SMITH # 816
13 JOSEPH TAPINE # 800
23 SCOTT SORENSEN # 831
19 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK # 794