Kiwis v Tonga: Four debutants named by NZ coach Michael Maguire for Mt Smart test

NZ Kiwis coach Michael Maguire has named four debutants to face Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium, while handing star centre Joseph Manu the fullback's jersey.

Winger Ronaldo Mulitalo, centre Marata Niukore, half Dylan Brown and bench forward Moses Leota are selected for the gameday squad, with rookie forward Jordan Riki next cab off the rank.

Niukore, who will join NZ Warriors next season, has played primarily as a forward for Parramatta Eels, but will has also filled the midfield role for his club, when required.

Twelve months ago, Auckland-born Mulitalo was the centre of State of Origin intrigue, when he was named to debut for Queensland, but was subsequently ruled ineligible, when it was discovered he had not moved to the state before his 13th birthday.

Michael Maguire at Kiwis training
Michael Maguire at Kiwis training. Photo credit: Photosport

He has previously represented United States in nines and Samoa. 

Veteran half Kieran Foran, 31, has been included on the interchange, 13 years after his first appearance for New Zealand, with captain Jesse Bromwich has logged the most tests, with 29 to his name.

"There's a real buzz among the players for what is such a significant occasion for the Kiwi jersey and for the game as a whole," said Maguire.

"We've been able to bring together a group of players who have been in tremendous form so far this season and they’re desperate to do well for their country.

"It’s a special thrill giving debuts to Dylan, Marata, Ronaldo and Moses. They really deserve this opportunity."

NZ Kiwis: 1-Joseph Manu, 2-Ronaldo Mulitalo, 3-Marata Niukore, 4-Peta Hiku, 5-Jordan Rapana, 6-Dylan Brown, 7-Jahrome Hughes, 8-Jesse Bromwich (c), 9-Brandon Smith, 10-James Fisher-Harris, 11-Isaiah Papali'i, 12-Kenny Bromwich, 13-Joseph Tapine

Interchange: 14-Kieran Foran, 15-Moses Leota, 16-Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 17-Briton Nikora

Also: 18-Jordan Riki, 19-Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 20-Te Maire Martin, 21-Scott Sorensen, 22-Erin Clark, 23-Ken Maumalo, 24-Griffin Neame

Join us at 5:40pm Saturday for live updates of the Kiwis v Tonga test