RLWC: New look Roos, Kiwis fully loaded for week three

Kodi Nikorima will start at five-eighth for New Zealand’s clash with Tonga.
Kodi Nikorima will start at five-eighth for New Zealand’s clash with Tonga.

AUSTRALIAN coach Mal Meninga has selected Ben Hunt and James Maloney in the Kangaroos lineup to face Lebanon for what will be their first games of the World Cup.

They weren't the only changes for the team's final pool game on Saturday night, Valentine Holmes set to play in the No.1 jumper, and Cameron Munster and Tom Trbojevic to get a shot in the centres.

"After Saturday night, every member of our squad will have played in the tournament, which gives us a great chance to see some combinations," Meninga said.

"We will also have a good opportunity to see a number of players in different positions which will be important for us as we progress through the tournament."

Meanwhile, Kodi Nikorima's superior game management has seen him earn the nod over Te Maire Martin at five-eighth for New Zealand's crunch Rugby League World Cup pool match against Tonga.

The Brisbane-based utility was a standout for the Kiwis in their first-up 38-8 victory over Samoa, but rested for last weekend's 74-6 thumping of Scotland.

Martin scored a hat-trick against the Scots and helped guide his Cowboys outfit to this year's NRL grand final but he hasn't done enough to earn coach David Kidwell's nod.

Nikorima will work alongside halfback Shaun Johnson on Saturday, as the Kiwis look to grind down Mate Ma'a, armed with a giant forward pack including Jason Taumalolo.

"Te Maire wants it for sure, 100 per cent, but we've gone with Kodi because we think he can direct the team along with Shaun and has that little bit of X-factor, that confidence," Kidwell told reporters.

"I'm not saying Te Maire doesn't want it, he wants it too, but we just thought Kodi can control that side while Shaun looks after the other side. "It's just created competition for places." In what is expected to be the Kiwis' most challenging pool match, Kidwell has mostly reverted to the side which dispatched Toa Samoa.

Jordan Rapana, Thomas Leuluai and Simon Mannering all join Nikorima in the starting side.



7.40pm AEDT Friday at Canberra Stadium

Fiji: 1 Kevin Naiqama (c) 2 Suliasi Vunivalu 3 Taane Milne 4 Akuila Uate 5 Marcelo Montoya

6 Jarryd Hayne 7 Henry Raiwalui 8 Ashton Sims 9 Apisai Koroisau 10 Eloni Vunakece 11 Viliame Kikau 12 Brayden Wiliame 13 Tui Kamikamica 14 Joe Lovodua 15 Jacob Saifiti 16 Junior Roqica 17 Petero Benjamin Nakubuwai 18 James Storer 19 Salesi Faingaa 20 Sitiveni Moceidreke 21 Pio Sokobalavu

* A largely unchanged side for Fiji. They've all but qualified for the knockout stages already.

Italy: 1 James Tedesco 2 Mason Cerruto 3 Justin Castellaro 4 Nathan Milone 5 Josh Mantellato

6 Terry Campese 7 Ryan Ghietti 8 Paul Vaughan 9 Joseph Tramontana 10 Daniel Alvaro

11 Jayden Walker 12 Mark Minichiello (c) 13 Nathan Brown 15 Brendan Santi 16 Shannon Wakeman 17 Joel Riethmuller 18 Christophe Calegari 19 Gavin Hiscox 20 Richard Lepori 21 Colin Wilkie 22 Mirco Bergamasco

* Terry Campese has been named at five-eighth again, but as he's been ruled out twice in the last two weeks it remains to be seen if he'll take the field.

Will Campese finally get on the field?
Will Campese finally get on the field?


3pm AEDT Saturday at Waikato Stadium

New Zealand: 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2 Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3 Dean Whare, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Kodi Nikorima, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Martin Taupau, 9 Thomas Leuluai, 10 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Joseph Tapine, 13 Adam Blair (c). Interchange: 14 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 15 Russell Packer, 16 Isaac Liu, 17 Danny Levi.

* It seems clear that David Kidwell has landed on his best 17 and that it contains Kodi Nikorima at five-eighth. The nippy Broncos half combined well with Shaun Johnson in the win over Samoa and has got the jump on Te Maire Martin. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Jordan Rapana return on the wings for Peta Hiku and Jason Nightingale while Thomas Leuluai slots in at hooker.

Tonga: 1 William Hopoate 2 Daniel Tupou 3 Michael Jennings 4 Konrad Hurrell

5 David Fusitua 6 Tuimoala Lolohea 7 Mafoa'aeata Hingano 8 Andrew Fifita 9 Sione Katoa

10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho 11 Manu Ma'u 12 Sika Manu (c) 13 Jason Taumalolo 14 Siliva Havili

15 Sam Moa 16 Peni Terepo 17 Ben Murdoch-Masila 18 Mahe Fonua 19 Manu Vatuvei 20 Ukuma Ta'ai 21 Tevita Pangai Junior

* Konrad Hurrell returns at centre for Solomone Kata in an otherwise unchanged Tongan starting line-up.


6pm AEDT Saturday at Barlow Park, Cairns

Samoa: 1 Young Tonumaipea 2 Ricky Leutele 3 Timoteo Lafai 4 Joseph Leilua 5 Matthew Wright 6 Jarome Luai 7 Fa'amanu Brown 8 Junior Paulo 9 Jazz Tevaga 10 Herman Ese'ese 11 Joshua Papalii 12 Frank Winterstein 13 Bunty Afoa 14 Pita Godinet 15 Joseph Paulo 16 Leeson Ah Mau 17 Sam Tagataese 18 Frank Pritchard 19 Suaia Matagi 20 Ben Roberts 21 Ken Maumalo

* Ken Maumalo, Frank Pritchard and Ben Roberts have all been removed from the starting 13 in favour of Matt Wright, Fa'amanu Brown and Frank Winterstein. Pita Godinet returns on the bench

Scotland: 1 Lewis Tierney 2 Shane Toal 3 Ben Hellewell 4 Lachlan Stein 5 Matthew Russell 6 Danny Addy 7 Oscar Thomas 8 Luke Douglas (c) 9 Callum Phillips 10 Ben Kavanagh 11 Frankie Mariano 12 Dale Ferguson 13 James Bell 14 Kane Bentley 15 Brandan Wilkinson 16 Andrew Bentley 17 Jarred Anderson 18 Alex Walker 19 Will Oakes 20 David Scott 21 Kieran Moran

* Luke Douglas will captain the side following Danny Brough's expulsion.

Scotland are in disarray following the loss of Brough.
Scotland are in disarray following the loss of Brough.


8pm AEDT Saturday at Sydney Footbal Stadium

Australia: 1. Valentine Holmes 2. Dane Gagai 3. Tom Trbojevic 4. Cameron Munster 5. Josh Mansour 6. James Maloney 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Aaron Woods 9. Cameron Smith 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Matt Gillett 13. Felise Kaufusi 14. Ben Hunt 15. Jordan McLean 16. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 17. Wade Graham 18. Josh McGuire 19. Michael Morgan 20. Josh Dugan 21. Billy Slater

* It's another new look team for the Kangaroos. Valentine Holmes starts at fullback, Dane Gagai comes in on the wing and Tom Trbojevic joins Cameron Munster in the centres. James Maloney will partner Cooper Cronk in the halves and it's a full strength forward pack outside of Felise Kaufusi at lock.

Lebanon: 1. Anthony Layoun 2. Travis Robinson 3. James Elias 4. Adam Doueihi 5. Abbas Miski 6. Mitchell Moses 7. Robbie Farah 8. Tim Mannah 9. Michael Lichaa 10. Alex Twal 11. Chris Saab 12. Ahmad Ellaz 13. Nick Kassis 14. Mitchell Mamary 15. Ray Moujalli 16. Jamie Clark 17. Andrew Kazzi 18. Jason Wehbe 19. Danny Barakat 20. Elias Sukkar 21. Daniel Abou-Sleiman

* Anthony Layoun returns at fullback and Chris Saab has been named in the backrow. James Elias will slot in at centre.


4pm AEDT Sunday at National Football Stadium, Port Moresby

PNG: 1 David Mead (c) 2 Justin Olam 3 Kato Ottio 4 Nene Macdonald 5 Garry Lo

6 Lachlan Lam 7 Watson Boas 8 Moses Meninga 9 James Segeyaro 10 Luke Page 11 Rhyse Martin 12 Willie Minoga 13 Paul Aiton 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Stargroth Amean 16 Nixon Putt 17 Thompson Teteh 18 Rod Griffin 19 Wartovo Puara 20 Enock Maki 21 Ase Boas

* The Kumuls are giving the rest of their squad a run with Lachlan Lam coming into the halves for Ase Boas and Moses Meninga starting for Wellington Albert.

USA: 1 Corey Makelim 2 Ryan Burroughs 3 Junior Vaivai 4 Jonathan Alley 5 Bureta Faraimo

6 Kristian Freed 7 Tui Samoa 8 Eddy Pettybourne 9 David Marando 10 Mark Offerdahl (c) 11 Danny Howard 12 Joe Eichner 13 Nicholas Newlin 14 Sam Tochterman-Talbott 15 Fotukava Malu 16 Martwain Johnston 17 Gabriel Farley 18 Steve Howard 19 Andrew Kneisly 20 David Ulch 21 Joshua Rice

* THE USA have shuffled their forward pack around and will be given their biggest start of the tournament with most bookies anticipating a 60 point flogging.


6.30pm AEDT Sunday at Perth Stadium

Wales: 1 Elliot Kear 2 Rhys Williams 3 Michael Channing 4 Christiaan Roets 5 Regan Grace

6 Courtney Davies 7 Danny Ansell 8 Craig Kopczak (c) 9 Steve Parry 10 Philip Joseph 11 Rhodri Lloyd 12 Joe Burke 13 Morgan Knowles 14 Matty Fozard 15 Matthew Barron 16 Ben Evans 17 Dalton Grant 18 Josh Ralph 19 Ben Morris 20 Gavin Bennion 21 Andrew Gay

* Wales have waited 17 years since their last World Cup win and given their performance against Fiji that drought seems set to continue.

Ireland: 1 Scott Grix 2 Shannon McDonnell 3 Ed Chamberlain 4 Api Pewhairangi 5 Liam Kay

6 Joe Keyes 7 Liam Finn (c) 8 Anthony Mullaly 9 Michael McIllorum 10 Kyle Amor 11 Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook 12 Will Hope 13 Brad Singleton 14 George King 15 Matty Hadden

16 Joe Philbin 17 Oliver Roberts 18 James Hasson 19 Tyrone McCarthy 20 Casey Dunne 21 Jack Higginson

* Api Pewhairangi moves to the centres in relief of Michael Morgan. Irish domestic player Casey Dunne has been named on an extended bench.

Will Wales put up more of a fight this time around?
Will Wales put up more of a fight this time around?


9pm AEDT Sunday at Perth Stadium

England: 1 Gareth Widdop, 2 Stefan Ratchford, 3 Mark Percival, 4 John Bateman, 5 Jermaine McGillvary, 6 Kevin Brown, 7 Luke Gale, 8 Chris Hill, 9 James Roby, 10 James Graham, 11 Ben Currie, 12 Mike McMeeken, 13 Sean O'Loughlin (c). Interchange: 14 Alex Walmsley, 15 Thomas Burgess, 16 Scott Taylor, 17 George Williams, 18 Ryan Hall, 19 Elliott Whitehead, 20 Chris Heighington, 21 Kallum Watkins.

* Wayne Bennett is using the final group game to rotate his squad, switching Gareth Widdop to fullback and Stefan Ratchford to wing. Kevin Brown will partner Luke Gale in the halves and Mike McMeeken will get his first action of the tournament in the backrow.

France: 1 Mark Kheirallah 2 Fouad Yaha 3 Bastien Ader 4 Damien Cardace 5 Ilias Bergal

6 Theo Fages (c) 7 Lucas Albert 8 Antoni Maria 9 John Boudebza 10 Julian Bousquet 11 Benjamin Garcia 12 Benjamin Jullien 13 Jason Baitieri 14 Romain Navarrete 15 Thibault Margalet 16 Maxime Herold 17 Remy Marginet 18 Olivier Arnaud 19 Mickael Rouch 20 Nabil Djalout 23 Lambert Belmas

* Lucas Albert will become Theo Fages's third halves partner in as many weeks. Eloi Pelissier's expulsion means John Boudebza will player more minutes at hooker.