Head coach Michael Maguire has confirmed 20-year-old back rower Isaiah Papali’i will debut for the Kiwis in the third Test against England at Elland Road in Leeds on Remembrance Day on Sunday (3.15pm kick-off local time; 4.15am Monday NZT).
After initially indicating he would name his final line-up an hour and a half before kick-off, Maguire has revealed Papali’i will become Kiwi No 817 coming off the interchange in the New Zealanders’ final outing of the year.
Named the Vodafone Warriors’ 2018 NRL Rookie of the Year, Papali’i captained the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos in Auckland last month. He comes onto a bench which also includes utility forward Kenny Bromwich, front rower Leeson Ah Mau and second rower Joseph Tapine. Tapine returns to the line-up after being used in the first Test in Hull while Marty Taupau and James Fisher-Harris make way.
The other change to the line-up sees Jamayne Isaako re-introduced on the right wing to replace the experienced Jordan Rapana, who has returned to Australia after being ruled out of the tour with a shoulder injury. Isaako, the Dally M NRL Rookie of the Year, will make his second Test appearance after his debut against England in Denver.
Maguire has included three players in his extended squad with Jahrome Hughes and Fisher-Harris joined by Vodafone Warriors utility back Gerard Beale, whose last Test was in the Kiwis’ opening match of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup against Toa Samoa.
The 32-year-old Adam Blair will edge closer to becoming just the eighth player in history to play 50 or more Tests when he makes his 48th appearance on Sunday.
The build-up to the Test will centre on a Remembrance Day commemoration marking the centenary of the end of the First World War.
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS v ENGLAND
3.15pm, Sunday, November 11, 2018
Elland Road, Leeds
Referee: Gerard Sutton (Australia)
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS
1 DALLIN WATENE-ZELEZNIAK (Penrith Panthers) captain
2 KEN MAUMALO (Vodafone Warriors)
3 ESAN MARSTERS (Wests Tigers)
4 JOSEPH MANU (Sydney Roosters)
5 JAMAYNE ISAAKO (Brisbane Broncos)
6 SHAUN JOHNSON (Vodafone Warriors)
7 KODI NIKORIMA (Brisbane Broncos)
8 JESSE BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
9 BRANDON SMITH (Melbourne Storm)
10 JARED WAEREA-HARGREAVES (Sydney Roosters)
11 KEVIN PROCTOR (Gold Coast Titans)
12 ISAAC LIU (Sydney Roosters)
13 ADAM BLAIR (Vodafone Warriors)
14 KENNY BROMWICH (Melbourne Storm)
15 LEESON AH MAU (St George Illawarra Dragons)
16 ISAIAH PAPALI’I (Vodafone Warriors)
17 JOSEPH TAPINE (Canberra Raiders)
18 JAHROME HUGHES (Melbourne Storm)
19 JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (Penrith Panthers)
20 GERARD BEALE (Vodafone Warriors)
HEAD COACH | MICHAEL MAGUIRE
NEW ZEALAND KIWIS | END OF SEASON CAMPAIGN
(includes first Test v England, KCOM Stadium, Hull)
Saturday, October 13 | v Australia, Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland | Won 26-24
Saturday, October 27 | v England, KCOM Stadium, Hull | Lost 16-18
Sunday, November 4 | v England, Anfield, Liverpool | Lost 14-20
Saturday, November 11 | v England, Elland Road, Leeds