Kiwis v Tonga: Mate Ma'a side named for Mt Smart test

John Asiata will make his test debut.
John Asiata will make his test debut. Photo credit: Getty

Tonga coach Kristian Woolf has named four new faces in his team to play the NZ Kiwis at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.

North Queensland Cowboys' John Asiata will start at five–eighth, alongisde Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs, while Manly hooker Manase Fainu and Roosters back-rower Sitili Tupouniua make their debuts off the bench.

Leeds' Tuimoala Lolohea will slot alongside Asiata to form the Mate Ma'a halves pairing.

Sharks prop Andrew Fifita has been named to start in the front row, pending an NRL judiciary hearing for a dangeorus contact charge, scheduled for Tuesday night.

The NRL match review committee charged the Cronulla prop with a crusher tackle on Canberra's Ryan Sutton and he faces a two-week suspension, if found guilty.

Tonga: 1-Will Hopoate, 2-Daniel Tupou, 3-Kotoni Staggs, 4-Solomone Kata, 5-David Fusi'tua, 6-John Asiata, 7-Tuimoala Lolohea, 8-Andrew Fifita , 9-Siliva Havili, 10-Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11-Tevita Pangai Junior, 12-Manu Ma'u, 13-Jason Taumalolo

Interchange: 14-Manase Fainu, 15-Addin Fonua-Blake, 16-Peni Terepo, 17-Sitili Tupouniua, 18-Sione Katoa, 19-Tevita (Junior) Tatola


Join us for live updates of Kiwis v Tonga rugby league at 5:40pm Saturday