Young Cowboys forward Jason Taumalolo has retained the New Zealand number 13 jersey for arguably his biggest game yet, Saturday’s Four Nations final against Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Taumalolo has been impressive in all three appearances for the unbeaten Kiwis, including the win against the Kangaroos in his first game for the Kiwis in Brisbane late last month.
Hooker Thomas Leuluai has been ruled out of the NZ line-up after he sustained a shoulder injury – as well as a badly gashed face – during his last outing in Dunedin.
Issac Luke has been promoted from the bench, with utility Lewis Brown joining the interchange bench.
Otherwise, Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney has stuck to the same team that held out the English, taking the precaution of naming back Gerard Beale and forward Bodene Thompson as 18th and 19th men.
Several others emerged from the weekend with injury concerns, but Tohu Harris (shoulder), Dean Whare (foot) and Jason Nightingale (face) are all expected to line up as named.
2014 Four Nations Final
Australia v New Zealand
6.45pm, Saturday 15 November, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
NZ Kiwis: 1 Peta Hiku, 2 Jason Nightingale, 3 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 4 Dean Whare, 5 Manu Vatuvei, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Issac Luke, 10 Adam Blair, 11 Simon Mannering, 12 Kevin Proctor, 13 Jason Taumalolo, 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Greg Eastwood, 16 Martin Taupau, 17 Tohu Harris, 18 Gerard Beale, 19 Bodene Thompson.
Kangaroos: 1 Greg Inglis, 2 Josh Mansour, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Dylan Walker, 5 Sione Mata’utia, 6 Daly Cherry-Evans, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Aaron Woods, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Josh Papalii, 11 Sam Thaiday, 12 Greg Bird, 13 Corey Parker, 14 Boyd Cordner, 15 Robbie Farah, 16 Aidan Guerra, 17 Ryan Hoffman, 18 Ben Hunt, 19 Josh Jackson, 20 David Klemmer.