Premiership-winning prop Moses Leota has been brought into the New Zealand Kiwis’ 19-man squad for their Rugby League World Cup semi-final against the Kangaroos at Elland Road in Leeds on Friday (7.45pm kick-off local time; 8.45am Saturday NZT).
The 27-year-old Penrith front rower is set make just his second appearance of the tournament.
He was named to line up in the Kiwis’ opening Pool C match against Lebanon on October 16 but was ruled out after picking up a slight groin injury in the team’s final training session.
Leota recovered to start a week later against Jamaica in Hull only to be forced off the field early with a pectoral strain.
He comes into the extended squad for clubmate Scott Sorensen while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak returns after being scratched late with a hamstring issue last week.
Apart from Sorensen the other squad members not selected are Marata Niukore, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Jeremy Marshall and Sebastian Kris.
The Kiwis are coming off a nailbiting 24-18 quarter-final win over Fiji following their pool match victories over the Lebanon Cedars (34-12), Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors (68-6) and the Ireland Wolfhounds (48-10).
The Kangaroos advanced to the semi-finals after eliminating Lebanon 48-4 last week.
NZ KIWIS v AUSTRALIAN KANGAROOS
Elland Road, Leeds
7.45pm, Friday, November 11, 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
15 MOSES LEOTA #827
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
19 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK # 794