Kiwis team set to feature a couple of surprises

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Friday, 22 June 2018, 10:53AM
Esan Marsters. Photo / Getty Images
Esan Marsters. Photo / Getty Images

Kiwis coach Michael Maguire is set to spring a couple of surprises in his team to face England.

Rookie centre Esan Marsters has been preferred at left centre, with Ken Maumalo on the wing, leaving no room for Broncos utility Peta Hiku in the lineup.

Hiku (nine tests) is one of the more experienced backs in the green looking squad, but Maguire has opted for the power and size of Marsters, who has been a revelation for the Tigers so far this season.

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Nelson Asofa Solomona will be the starting front row combination, with Martin Taupau employed at lock to start the match.

Taupau has played most of his 20 tests as a prop – usually providing impact from the impact – but has plenty of experience at lock at club level.

As expected, James Fisher-Harris and Joseph Tapine complete the back row.
Roosters middle forward Issac Liu is the unlucky man among the forwards, missing out on the 17-man squad.

The makeup of the bench sums up the raw nature of this Kiwis team, after so many withdrawals for the match in North America.

None of the four interchange players have any Kiwis experience, possibly an unprecedented situation in modern New Zealand league history.

However, Leeson Ah Mau, Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Herman Ese'ese have played for Toa Samoa, while Slade Griffin has four years of NRL experience to lean on.

Overall there will be seven debutants, with the wing pairing of Ken Maumalo and Jamayne Isaako the other rookies.

But the spine has decent experience, headed by hooker Issac Luke, who will run out for his 43rd test. Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (six tests), along with halfback Kodi Nikorima (eight), with have vital roles to guide their younger teammates around the park

Probable Kiwis lineup
1. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
2. Jamayne Isaako
3. Esan Marsters
4. Jordan Kahu
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Te Maire Martin
7. Kodi Nikorima
8. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
9. Issac Luke
10 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
11. James Fisher-Harris
12. Joseph Tapine
13. Martin Taupau
14. Slade Griffin
15. Ray Faitala-Marriner
16. Herman Ese'ese
17. Leeson Ah Mau
18. Peta Hiku
19 Issac Liu

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