New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire has named the same seventeen who defeated Australia in such impressive fashion ahead of his team’s first test of three against England this Saturday in Hull.
That victory – just short of two weeks ago – saw Penrith’s flying full-back Dallin Watene-Zelezniak play his first match since being named captain of the Kiwis and he will be keen to impress in Hull on Saturday. He will wear the number one jersey while Ken Maumalo and Jordan Rapana will start as wingers, the pair scoring the first and last try for New Zealand against Australia. Joseph Manu will make his second test start in the centres after impressing on debut last time out while his fellow centre Leeson Ah Mau will make his third appearance – as will Maumalo.
Arguably the Kiwis most high-profile player, much of their success this autumn will depend on the performances of their talismanic half-back Shaun Johnson. The 28-year-old broke English hearts in the World Cup semi final five years ago, his last minute try at Wembley giving New Zealand a 20-18 victory over the hosts. Lining up alongside the man known as ‘Magic’ will be the NZ Warriors’ Kodi Nikorima with the pivot set to make his tenth test appearance for the Kiwis.
In the pack, the experienced and imposing Jesse Bromwich starts in the front row and, alongside second rower Kevin Proctor, continue their re-introduction to the test arena after being banned for cocaine use and missing last year’s World Cup. Brandon Smith is another set to make his second appearance for his country and, having scored on debut against the Kangaroos, the hooker will go into the game with confidence. Gigantic prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves completes the starting front row for Maguire’s men while Isaac Liu joins Proctor in the second row. Penrith’s James Fisher-Harris will wear the number thirteen jersey.
The second Bromwich brother, Kenny, is joined by Leeson Ah Mau, Martin Taupau – linked recently with Super League’s Leeds Rhinos – and Adam Blair as interchanges while Melbourne’s Jahrome Hughes and Canberra’s Joseph Tapine have been named on an extended bench, two of whom will drop out ahead of the match.