Rugby League: Seven debutants named for Kiwis against England

 Ken Maumalo
New Kiwis winger Ken Maumalo in training. Photo credit: Photosport

New Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has named four new players in his starting line-up to take on England in Denver on Sunday.

Rugby League: Seven debutants named for Kiwis against England

After taking an extra 24 hours to deliberate over the make-up of his midfield, the former South Sydney coach has opted for debutants Jamayne Isaako and Ken Maumalo on the wings, with Esan Marsters at centre, alongside utility Peta Hiku.

Initially selected on an all-rookie bench, second-rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner was inserted into the starting XIII shortly before the team was announced, still allocated the number 15 jersey.

One-test veteran James Fister-Harris brings his experience off a bench, which also consists of first-timers Slade Griffin, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Herman Ese'ese and Leeson Ah Mau.

Kodi Nikorima and Te Maire Martin have been paired in the halves, with fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and hooker Issac Luke completing the all-important spine.

The side for Maguire's first test in charge is considerably under-strength, with several front-line performers making themselves unavailable due to player welfare concerns surrounding travel, altitude and recovery.

The team to take on England is:

Kiwis: 1-Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 2-Jamayne Isaako, 3-Esan Marsters, 4-Peta Hiku, 5-Ken Maumalo, 6-Te Maire Martin, 7-Kodi Nikorima, 8-Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9-Issac Luke, 10-Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 15-Ray Faitala-Mariner, 12-Joseph Tapine, 13-Martin Taupau

Bench: 11-James Fisher-Harris, 14-Slade Griffin, 16-Herman Ese'ese, 17-Leeson Ah Mau 

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