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The Kiwis have the home-ground advantage while the Kangaroos have the momentum heading into Saturday’s Pacific Cup Final in Hamilton.

With Val Holmes contributing 16 points and Lindsay Collins grabbing the first try double of his career, the Kangaroos proved too strong for the Kiwis in a 36-18 triumph in Melbourne last weekend.

The Kangaroos have now won all 12 Test matches played in Australia since Mal Meninga took the helm but they will face a hostile reception from the fans at Waikato’s FMG Stadium and also from a fired up Kiwi forward pack seeking redemption.

Both sides are set to be at full strength for the decider and nothing will be left in the tank in the final match of another long and testing season for the game’s superstars.

The Kiwis have proven countless times during the past 20 years that lead-up form goes out the window when the silverware is on the line and the likes of James Fisher-Harris and Joe Tapine are sure to bring the heat to the early exchanges.

Team News

Kiwis: Coach Michael Maguire sticks with the same 17-man squad that went down to the Kangaroos in Melbourne with Joey Manu remaining in the centres and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad staying at fullback. Roosters youngster Naufahu Whyte is 18th Man once again.

Kangaroos: Props Payne Haas and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui return to the side after being rested last weekend so Jake Trbojevic and Tom Flegler make way. Liam Martin is also back in the starting side so Reuben Cotter reverts to the bench and last week’s debutant Nicho Hynes goes to 18th Man.

Stat Attack

  • This will be the first time since the Four Nations final in Wellington in 2014 that NZ has hosted a championship decider
  • This will be only the second time since 2014 that the Kiwis have played the Kangaroos in NZ
  • The last Trans-Tasman clash on New Zealand soil was the one-off Test at Go Media Stadium in 2018 when the Kiwis triumphed 26-24.
  • Both sides completed at 82 per cent in their clash in Melbourne last weekend. The Kangaroos completed 32 of 39 sets and the Kiwis completed 28 of 34.
  • Adam Blair and Ruben Wiki hold the record for most appearances for NZ against Australia with 24.

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