Auckland, New Zealand, October 24, 2023 – An unchanged squad has been named for the New Zealand Kiwis’ Pacific Championships contest against the Kangaroos at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Saturday night (8.10pm kick-off local time).
Kieran Foran is listed in the #9 jersey this week after being selected in the #14 shirt but starting at dummy half in the Kiwis’ commanding 50-0 victory over Toa Samoa at Eden Park last Saturday.
The 33-year-old 282-game NRL veteran is set for his 30th Test since his debut as a 19-year-old against England in the 2009 Four Nations in Huddersfield.
With frontline hookers unavailable, Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire called on halfback Foran to fill the void at dummy half.
He responded with a courageous display in an unbroken 58-minuter shift, finishing the encounter with 52 metres from eight runs and 31 tackles as he fronted up to the Samoans in the middle of the park.
“Kieran put his head in the middle against Samoa and did such a great job for the team,” said Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.
“He’s a hugely passionate Kiwi who has been in this space for 14 years and he’d die for his teammates. He loves the jersey.”
The Kiwis’ win over Samoa followed Australia’s 38-12 victory over the beaten Rugby League World Cup finalist on October 14 ensuring the Trans-Tasman neighbours will meet in the final at FMG Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on November 4.
First they face off in just the fourth Test between the two countries in the Victorian capital.
The first was in 1991 when the New Zealanders famously stunned the Australians 24-8 at Olympic Park.
They met at Melbourne’s Telstra Dome in the 2006 Tri Nations, the Kiwis leading 15-14 before Australia scored late to win 20-15.
Their last meeting was at AAMI Park in the 2006 Anzac Test when the Kangaroos held on for 12-8 triumph.
NZ KIWIS v KANGAROOS
AAMI PARK, MELBOURNE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2023
NO. PLAYERS NAME HERITAGE NUMBER
1 CHARNZE NICOLL-KLOKSTAD #820
2 RONALDO MULITALO #824
3 MATTHEW TIMOKO #832
4 JOSEPH MANU #815
5 JAMAYNE ISAAKO #808
6 DYLAN BROWN #826
7 JAHROME HUGHES #819
8 JAMES FISHER-HARRIS (C) #801
9 KIERAN FORAN #757
10 MOSES LEOTA #827
11 ISAIAH PAPALI’I #817
12 BRITON NIKORA #818
13 JOSEPH TAPINE #800
14 FA’AMANU BROWN #835
15 NELSON ASOFA-SOLOMONA #804
16 GRIFFIN NEAME #834
17 LEO THOMPSON #833
18 NAUFAHU WHYTE Debutant
19 DANNY LEVI #806
20 WIREMU GREIG Debutant
21 KEANO KINI Debutant