Kiwis name four debutants to face Tonga, Manu at fullback

Source: 1News

Four debutants and fullback Joseph Manu are the highlights of a Kiwis side that will face Tonga on Saturday in front of the sea of red expected at Mt Smart Stadium for New Zealand’s first Test since 2019.

Kiwis head coach Michael Maguire is looking forward to a monumental homecoming clash against Tonga on Saturday.

The Kiwis have named four debutants in their match-day squad. They include Paramatta Eels’ Dylan Brown and Marata Niukore, as well as Cronulla winger Ronaldo Mulitalo and Penrith’s Moses Leota.

Standout Paramatta second rower Isaiah Papalii will start in his second test for New Zealand nearly four years after his debut against England in 2018.

Manu, who primarily plays at centre for the Roosters, has been named at fullback, where he has excelled for his club recently when he has filled in for James Tedesco.

Joseph Manu, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Moses Leota

Kieran Foran was named as the utility on the bench while Storm prop Jesse Bromwich will captain the side and lead a strong forward pack that features Penrith's James Fisher-Harris and Canberra star Joseph Tapine.

"It’s an exciting time for everyone involved having international rugby league back on deck after so long," head coach Michael Maguire said.

"There’s a real buzz among the players for what is such a significant occasion for the Kiwi jersey and for the game as a whole.

"We’ve been able to bring together a group of players who have been in tremendous form so far this season and they’re desperate to do well for their country."

Game: Saturday 25th June at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland – 5:20pm

Kiwis squad:

1. Joseph Manu

2. Ronaldo Mulitalo

3. Marata Niukore

4. Peta Hiku

5. Jordan Rapana

6. Dylan Brown

7. Jahrome Hughes

8. Jesse Bromwich (c)

9. Brandon Smith

10. James Fisher-Harris

11. Isaiah Papali’i

12. Kenny Bromwich

13. Joseph Tapine

14. Kieran Foran

15. Moses Leota

16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

17. Briton Nikora

18. Jordan Riki

19. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

20. Te Maire Martin

21. Scott Sorensen

22. Erin Clark

23. Ken Maumalo

24. Griffin Neame