York, England, October 26, 2022 – Prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and halfback Jahrome Hughes are back in the New Zealand Kiwis’ Test line-up for the final Pool C Rugby League World Cup match against Ireland at Headingley in Leeds on Friday (7.30pm kick-off local time; 7.30am Saturday NZT).

The influential 33-year-old Waerea-Hargreaves resumes his international career after serving a three-match suspension incurred in the Sydney Roosters’ NRL week one finals loss to South Sydney in September.

Head coach Michael Maguire has named Waerea-Hargreaves on the interchange for his 33rd Test since making his debut against Mate Ma’a Tonga in his hometown Rotorua on October 14, 2009. It will be his first appearance for the Kiwis since facing Great Britain in Christchurch in November 2019.

Hughes featured in the Kiwis’ warm-up match against the Leeds Rhinos on October 8 but has been sidelined since after picking up a thigh strain in training two weeks ago.

He is reunited with standoff Dylan Brown for the first time since they paired up in the home Test win over Mate Ma’a Tonga in June, Brown cleared to play this week after his illness-enforced absence from last Saturday’s encounter with Jamaica.

While Maguire has quickly called in the squad’s longest-serving Test player in Waerea-Hargreaves, he has also included another four big forwards in the Kiwis’ starting pack to face Ireland.

After missing the 68-6 win over Jamaica, captain Jesse Bromwich returns in the front row alongside James Fisher-Harris while the imposing 200cm Nelson Asofa-Solomona has been switched to the second row with Joseph Tapine back at loose forward after he also missed the Jamaica contest.

Fisher-Harris, hooker Brandon Smith and second rower Kenny Bromwich remain from the starting pack used in the two matches against Lebanon and Jamaica.

Recalled on the wings are Jordan Rapana and Ronaldo Mulitalo after Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and debutant Sebastian Kris filled those positions against Jamaica – and scored five tries between them – while second rower Briton Nikora has been selected in the centres this week. He played there for much of the Jamaica contest after Marata Niukore left the field with a hamstring injury.

Kieran Foran, used in the halves in all three tour matches so far, moves to the bench where he was used against Tonga in June with Isaiah Papali’i, Isaac Liu and Waerea-Hargreaves rounding out the interchange. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad and Scott Sorensen are the 18th and 19th players while prop Moses Leota (pectoral) and Niukore (hamstring) weren’t considered this week.

The Kiwis have beaten Lebanon 34-12 and Jamaica 68-6 in their first two pool matches while Ireland accounted for Jamaica 48-2 but lost 14-32 to Lebanon last weekend.




Headingley, Leeds

7.30pm, Friday, October 28, 2022


Fullback 1 Joseph MANU # 815
Wing 2 Ronaldo MULITALO # 824
Centre 17 Briton NIKORA # 818
Centre 4 Peta HIKU # 781
Wing 5 Jordan RAPANA # 798
Five Eighth 6 Dylan BROWN # 826
Halfback 7 Jahrome HUGHES # 819
Prop 8 Jesse BROMWICH (C) # 775
Hooker 9 Brandon SMITH # 816
Prop 10 James FISHER-HARRIS # 801
Second Row 12 Kenny BROMWICH # 796
Second Row 16 Nelson ASOFA-SOLOMONA # 804
Loose Forward 13 Joseph TAPINE # 800
Interchange 11 Isaiah PAPALI’I # 817
Interchange 14 Kieran FORAN # 757
Interchange 18 Jared WAEREA-HARGREAVES # 755
Interchange 20 Isaac LIU # 805
18th Man 21 Charnze NICOLL-KLOKSTAD # 820
19th Man 23 Scott SORENSEN # 831

14 December 2021

Jahrome Hughes (Kiwi #819) has been named the 2021 Kiwis Player of the Year, Isaiah Papali’i (Kiwi #817) took home Young Kiwi Player of the Year, while James Fisher-Harris (Kiwi #801) was awarded the inaugural NZRL People’s Choice Award.

Hughes was a standout for Melbourne, who won a record-tying 19 games in a row thanks to the Kiwi’s leadership and consistency in the halves. Hughes ended the 2021 NRL season with nine tries, 19 try assists and 13 line-break assists, cementing his status as one of the competition’s premier players.

Kiwis Head Coach Michael Maguire says the Player of the Year award was no easy decision.

“Kiwi boys across the competition have led their teams to new heights in 2021; the likes of Fisher-Harris, Brandon Smith, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, and Joey Manu were all standouts for their clubs. However, Jahrome’s growth into a leader at the Storm saw him deserving of this year’s accolade.

“Jahrome’s consistency in the spine was evident; he led his team to a record win streak and saw them through to the semi-final. His improvement over the last couple of years has been exceptional, and his game management and kicking game reached a new level in 2021.

“He has solidified himself as one of the game’s best halves and is well-deserving of the Kiwis Player of the Year title,” Maguire concludes.

Isaiah Papali’i (Kiwi #817) was awarded the 2021 Young Kiwi Player of the Year after his breakout season with Parramatta, making 109 tackle breaks and 809 tackles for the year. The young Kiwi’s trophy cabinet for 2021 also includes the VB Hardest Working Player of the Year and Dally M Back Rower of the Year.

Head Coach Maguire says, “From the first time I had Isaiah in the Kiwis squad, to now, he’s grown into one of the game’s most dangerous back-rowers.

“His performance this year stood out; he really stepped up at Paramatta, and he’s well-deserving of the accolades he’s received in 2021.”

Maguire adds, “What’s exciting about his growth is that Isaiah is still young, he’s got years of footy left in him, and he’s well on track to being one of New Zealand’s best players.”

This year, NZRL also introduced the inaugural People’s Choice Award, where fans had the chance to vote for their best Kiwi player of the 2021 season.

It was a tight race to the finish between Hughes, Smith and Fisher-Harris, but a late surge by voters saw the Penrith stalwart, James Fisher-Harris take home the title.

Fisher-Harris had arguably his best season, earning 154 metres a game, averaging 100 post-contact metres in the lead up to his maiden NRL Premiership and second Dally M Prop of the Year accolade.

Head Coach Maguire says, “I know how competitive these awards are, so there’s no surprise it was a tight race to the finish. James is extremely deserving of this; he had an exceptional season, he’s the best prop in the game and an asset to our Kiwis squad.”

Maguire adds, “This year, we have watched many Kiwi players play their best seasons. The depth we are seeing, plus the calibre of football on display is exciting. I’m looking forward to a busy 2022 International season and seeing these boys come together for their country once again.”