For the third week running the New Zealand Kiwis will have the same side when they face the Kangaroos in Saturday’s Pacific Championships final at FMG Stadium in Hamilton (5.00pm kick-off).
The competition decider pits the Trans-Tasman foes against each other on New Zealand soil for only the third time in 11 years.
The most recent was the one-off international at Go Media Stadium in Auckland in 2018 when the Kiwis stunned the Australians 26-24.
Five years on only centre Joseph Manu – who debuted that night – and captain James Fisher-Harris remain in the line-up playing this week.
In the only other Trans-Tasman battle in New Zealand since 2012, the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos 22-18 in the Four Nations final in Wellington in 2014.
The only survivor from the New Zealand side that night is the 33-year-old Kieran Foran who’s set for his 31st Test this week after making his debut as a 19-year-old in 2009.
The Kiwis go into Saturday’s final on the back of last Saturday’s 18-36 loss to Australia in Melbourne but are buoyed by having a rare opportunity to meet them at home.
“The players are excited about playing in such an important Test and doing so in front of a passionate home crowd,” said Kiwi head coach Michael Maguire.
“We’ve got great belief in our side and I’ve got a lot on confidence in where we’re going.
“We’ve had a good look at where we need to be better from last week and the boys will take those lessons into Saturday’s match in Hamilton.”
Jahrome Hughes and Dylan Brown are paired in the halves for the sixth consecutive Test while Penrith’s premiership-winning props James Fisher-Harris and Moses Leota again lead the Kiwis’ charge in the middle of the park.
In the past 26 years, New Zealand and Australia have clashed only 15 times on this side of the Tasman with the Kiwis claiming six wins to Australia’s eight with one draw.
PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL
NZ KIWIS v KANGAROOS
FMG STADIUM, HAMILTON
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 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 –
19 WIREMU GREIG –
20 KEANO KINI –